Steadfast and He Has Rescued Us are not only two of the most beautiful songs in the Faith Inkubators Music Guild arsenal. They both aptly describe the singer-songwriter, Christel Lankhorst.
The bass player for Dakota Road Music made her vocal debut at five, singing Love is a Circle for the annual talent show at McKinnley Elementary in Liberal, Kansas. Although the shy and quiet child had to endure two older brothers howling in the background as she practiced, she always managed to muster up enough courage to sing in front of people. It was simply what is in her heart to do.
She’s been doing it ever since.
EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO OFFER
Christel is the youngest of four children with a solo-quality father and a mother who directed children’s choirs at church. Her siblings have played various musical instruments over the years and today those who aren’t performing, writing music or recording, are either married to musicians or have performing kids. Amazingly, there is very little competitive spirit in Christel’s family. "We all continue to support and encourage one another musically and through all life’s journey," says Christel. "We’ll buy ten CD’s and play them for every poor unsuspecting soul who walks in the door or fly clear across the country to see a performance!"
Four college camp summers changed her from a performer to a leader who loved engaging others in music. It also gave her the motivation and the opportunity to learn to play guitar. "At that point I began to seek out and write music that spoke about things I valued," says Christel. "It became increasingly important for me to find ways to nurture and engage the gifts of others - specifically kids. Music soon became a tool to create community, encourage self-confidence and expression and create opportunities for fun and laughter!"
After college Christel worked as a director of youth and family ministries at Trinity in Stillwater for two years, where she met the FINK folks and Dakota Road Music. Rich Melheim loved her voice and asked her to join the FINK Music Guild. Singer-songwriters Larry Olson, Hans Peterson, and Scott Jibben of Dakota Road believed in and encouraged her gifts. Next thing you know she was playing bass on the top four strings of her acoustic guitar. Five and a half years ago she left Trinity, joined the band and has been taking it to the road ever since. She currently plays bass and acoustic guitar, sings as one of three lead vocalists, and later this month heads to Bosnia to work with Croatian, Serbian and Muslim children scarred by war.*
Dakota Road Music is a performance, writing and music publishing company specializing in original faith-filled music - as well as a few silly songs. The international hit, There’s a Cow Parked In My Driveway, is probably their most requested song. The Dakota Road Band travels around the country and overseas leading musician and song-writing workshops and performing for community events, national and regional gatherings, elementary schools, churches, worship services, prisons and more.
Music is not Christel’s only passion, however! She also has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a licensed social worker. Both passions allow her to interact with people in meaningful ways, which is at the heart of what Christel is about.
Faith Inkubators first ran into Christel while she was youth worker at Trinity in Stillwater. She has written or recorded ten songs for the Head to the Heart and Faith Stepping Stones projects, including:
Steadfast, He Has Rescued Us, The Apostles’ Creed; Established in Faith, co-written by John R. Holt; Finally, Beloved and Do Not Worry by Jayne Southwick Cool; At the Name of Jesus and By Faith by Jon Anderson; and Listen! by Richard Webb.
Christel recently released her first solo album entitled, "Things of My Life." If you are interested in ordering a CD, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.dakotaroad.com.
For sharing the music that is in your heart, and for all you’ve done for the church, the art, and for kids, the Faith Inkubators Music Guild is proud to name Christel Lankhorst our June Musician of the Month.
*The Bosnia trip, sponsored by the New Jersey Synod (of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America), leads one-day "Friendship Camps" in elementary schools and orphanages. Each year, the program is rooted in themes of peace, healing, reconciliation and hope. Christel co-band member Larry Olsen will travel on separate teams and provide the music programming for the camps. If you are interested in learning more about this trip or getting daily updates on how things are going while they’re there, go to www.servanttrips.org. She would greatly appreciate prayers for safe travels!
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Paintings by He Qi