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Render your ears for Render the Hearts

On April 7, 2013

History was made Friday as the band “Render the Hearts” performed at the First Baptist Church of Ceredo to celebrate the release of its first CD.

Mike Cochran, lead vocalist and guitarist, and Joe Crow, drummer and background vocalist, started “Render the Hearts.” Both had played music for several years, but had never played in a band together.

“We were actually sitting at Taco Bell when this all started,” Cochran said. “We had known each other for a long time, and we just decided that we needed to start a band.”

Once making the decision, the duo realized they would need more than just the two of them to make their dream a reality. This is how Shane Stevens, pianist, Raice Stevens, guitarist and background vocalist, and Heath Lafferty, bassist and background vocalist, came to be part of the band.

Cochran said he knew Shane Stevens and Lafferty from Marshall University and because Shane and Raice Stevens are brothers he said he inherited and keyboardist and a guitarist.

The band also inherited soundman, Barton Stevens, who is the father of Shane and Raice Stevens. Crow said even though Barton is not on stage he is just as much a part of the band as any of the other members.

When the band members were thinking of what to call themselves, they all agreed they wanted something unique, but they did not want to just make something up.

“I was reading through Isaiah when I stumbled upon a verse that I thought would be perfect for us,” Cochran said.

The term “Render the Hearts” can be found in Isaiah 6:10, which says, “render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and the eyes dim, otherwise they might see with the eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.”

“What’s cool about our name is that we are the only thing with ‘Render the Hearts’ as the name,” Shane Stevens said. “If you type render the hearts in on Google, we are the first thing that pops up.”

After only being together for a year, the band has performed at more than 20 places across West Virginia, including venues like the Winterplace Ski Resort.

Four months ago, Ryan Navy joined the band to serve as band pastor. Navy is the youth pastor at First Baptist Ceredo and found out about the band through Cochran, who leads worship at his church.

“I usually come to all of their shows, and if they need someone to preach during the intermission I do that,” Navy said. “I pretty much just make sure that the guys are doing okay because being in a ministry on the road I know takes a lot out of them.”

Ministering is a big part of what the band does. Their mission statement as a band is to prepare their hearts through scripture, prayer and fellowship and to be transparent on stage and lead by example off stage.

“When we were thinking of our goal, we didn’t want people to see as much of what we do, but more of why we do what we do,” Crow said.

The band hopes that Christians in the audience will feel free to worship through the music and that non-Christians can come to know Christ through what they do.

“I think I can speak for the band when I say that this is not just another show or a concert,” Navy said. “Our main focus is worship. We would rather lead one person to Christ than sell a bunch of t-shirts or CDs.”

The CD, which was released Friday, contains five songs all written and put together by the band. The band members also recorded all the music for the CD themselves.

Along with the CD, t-shirts and guitar picks were made available for purchase.

“Render the Hearts” has made the CD available to the public on iTunes and Spotify.

The band members said they do not know what the future holds for them, but they hope this will be the beginning of an amazing experience.

Josephine Mendez can be contacted at

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