Assemblies of God SearchSite GuideStoreContact Us
Evangelism, Worship, Discipleship & Compassion

News RSS Feed

Audio News Reports

Assemblies of God News

Fine Arts winner makes it to Hollywood

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 - 3:55 PM CST

Luke Edgemon
Edgemon

"American Idol" premiered its Hollywood Week on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, showcasing 181 contestants that survived the initial auditions and were back to prove themselves deserving of a spot on the hit television show.

North Carolina singer Luke Edgemon was one of those contestants sent to Hollywood after his Orlando audition.

"When I first realized that I'd made it to Hollywood, I felt like I was imagining it," Edgemon says. "Standing in front of the Idol judges and Kristen Chenoweth was surreal enough already."

Edgemon, who won first place in the Male Vocal Solo category at the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival in 2006, says making it to Hollywood felt much like the first time he made it to second and third rounds in Nationals. "Something I had been trying to achieve for so many years had finally been attained ... I couldn't have been happier," he says.

"Being a part of National Fine Arts played a part in almost every aspect of my journey on American Idol," Edgemon says. According to Edgemon, little things throughout the competition reminded him of Fine Arts, such as the constant adjudication and calls to the stage.

Although sent home during American Idol's Hollywood week, he learned some valuable lessons from his Fine Arts experiences that prepared him for this situation.

"Rejection is also something that FAF taught me to deal with," he says. "While most people don't like to associate a negative word like that with the amazing things that come from Fine Arts, it is unfortunately an emotion most of us who participate have to deal with and overcome." 

"I am thankful to have learned, at a young age, that no matter what dismissal we face, we are still destined by God to walk in our calling. I focused on this particular bit of knowledge when I was released from the American Idol competition during Hollywood Week this year, and I have the 6 years I participated in National Fine Arts Festival to thank," Edgemon says.

Edgemon learned another lesson while preparing for his auditions that may come as a surprise to some - he gave up soft drinks and coffee, which could harm his voice. "I had a meeting with a local speech pathologist before going to Los Angeles, and she taught me that caffeine is extremely harmful to the vocal chords, as it dries them out significantly, and doesn't allow them to work to their fullest potential," he says.

Since his release from American Idol in January, Edgemon has secured a few singing opportunities: singing in churches throughout the United States, performing the national anthem at sporting events, and judging the district level of the Fine Arts Festival competition in a number of states.  He has also started recording a few covers for fun.

During his journey through Fine Arts, Edgemon attended Glad Tidings Church (AG) in Dunn, North Carolina. He does not attend the church anymore, however, sees himself as a member of quite a few AG churches throughout the country while he travels. "I travel as much as I can, ministering through songs that Jesus has blessed me with," Edgemon says.

As for season 10 auditions, Edgemon says he would definitely try out for American Idol again. "The entire process is insanely fun and interesting. From the travel, to the constant immersion in song, to meeting the most amazing people; the experience is like no other," he says.

"Right now, I am hoping that God brings me to something much bigger than American Idol in 2010. However, I walk through every door that I feel He holds the key to; and if nothing significant has taken my journey one step closer to the tremendous calling He has ordained for my life, then you can definitely expect to see me in those long lines again this fall."

Wherever Edgemon is singing, he is sure that his faith plays a part in his music. "My faith holds an esteemed role in my music. Before I sing a note, or even take a breath, I challenge myself to remember where my giftings and talents came from," he says. "Making music is my calling, and I cannot ever allow myself to forget that."

To hear some of Edgemon's music, visit his Myspace page.


Search Assemblies of God News Archives
   Additional Headlines & Audio Reports

Search AG News

Luke Edgemon
Edgemon

"American Idol" premiered its Hollywood Week on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, showcasing 181 contestants that survived the initial auditions and were back to prove themselves deserving of a spot on the hit television show.

North Carolina singer Luke Edgemon was one of those contestants sent to Hollywood after his Orlando audition.

"When I first realized that I'd made it to Hollywood, I felt like I was imagining it," Edgemon says. "Standing in front of the Idol judges and Kristen Chenoweth was surreal enough already."

Edgemon, who won first place in the Male Vocal Solo category at the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival in 2006, says making it to Hollywood felt much like the first time he made it to second and third rounds in Nationals. "Something I had been trying to achieve for so many years had finally been attained ... I couldn't have been happier," he says.

"Being a part of National Fine Arts played a part in almost every aspect of my journey on American Idol," Edgemon says. According to Edgemon, little things throughout the competition reminded him of Fine Arts, such as the constant adjudication and calls to the stage.

Although sent home during American Idol's Hollywood week, he learned some valuable lessons from his Fine Arts experiences that prepared him for this situation.

"Rejection is also something that FAF taught me to deal with," he says. "While most people don't like to associate a negative word like that with the amazing things that come from Fine Arts, it is unfortunately an emotion most of us who participate have to deal with and overcome." 

"I am thankful to have learned, at a young age, that no matter what dismissal we face, we are still destined by God to walk in our calling. I focused on this particular bit of knowledge when I was released from the American Idol competition during Hollywood Week this year, and I have the 6 years I participated in National Fine Arts Festival to thank," Edgemon says.

Edgemon learned another lesson while preparing for his auditions that may come as a surprise to some - he gave up soft drinks and coffee, which could harm his voice. "I had a meeting with a local speech pathologist before going to Los Angeles, and she taught me that caffeine is extremely harmful to the vocal chords, as it dries them out significantly, and doesn't allow them to work to their fullest potential," he says.

Since his release from American Idol in January, Edgemon has secured a few singing opportunities: singing in churches throughout the United States, performing the national anthem at sporting events, and judging the district level of the Fine Arts Festival competition in a number of states.  He has also started recording a few covers for fun.

During his journey through Fine Arts, Edgemon attended Glad Tidings Church (AG) in Dunn, North Carolina. He does not attend the church anymore, however, sees himself as a member of quite a few AG churches throughout the country while he travels. "I travel as much as I can, ministering through songs that Jesus has blessed me with," Edgemon says.

As for season 10 auditions, Edgemon says he would definitely try out for American Idol again. "The entire process is insanely fun and interesting. From the travel, to the constant immersion in song, to meeting the most amazing people; the experience is like no other," he says.

"Right now, I am hoping that God brings me to something much bigger than American Idol in 2010. However, I walk through every door that I feel He holds the key to; and if nothing significant has taken my journey one step closer to the tremendous calling He has ordained for my life, then you can definitely expect to see me in those long lines again this fall."

Wherever Edgemon is singing, he is sure that his faith plays a part in his music. "My faith holds an esteemed role in my music. Before I sing a note, or even take a breath, I challenge myself to remember where my giftings and talents came from," he says. "Making music is my calling, and I cannot ever allow myself to forget that."

To hear some of Edgemon's music, visit his Myspace page.


Search Assemblies of God News Archives

Modern Hymns of Revival

 

In the Gap

You Might Also Like


Videos (AGTV)

AG News

Return to News Index

At 80, He's Not Your Average Chi Alpha Campus Pastor

Mon, 29 Sep 2014 - 4:33 PM CST

Ray and Vera Treese
Ray and Vera Treese

Ray Treese had his life planned out — he knew well in advance that all his hard work would allow him to spend his retirement years on the local golf courses. And at first, everything was going according to plan, but then . . . .

"The current Chi Alpha campus pastor [supported by the church] at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) resigned," recalls Treese. "The next day, I met with the pastor and we decided that this was too important of a ministry to let slide, so I volunteered to go out and temporarily head up the program."

That was in 1998. Treese, with his wife of 58 years, Vera, supporting his efforts, is still leading the Chi Alpha program ministering to EKU students. He turned 80 in April and is officially the oldest Chi Alpha campus minister in the nation.

Chi Alpha is the Assemblies of God ministry to students attending secular colleges and universities. Treese's continuing ministry on the EKU campus might be easier to understand if he had walked into a "turn-key" operation, had years of experience in ministry to college students, or at least was a credentialed minister - but that wasn't the case.

Instead, the truth was the Chi Alpha group was essentially non-existent, Treese had attended college in his mid-30s and had no familiarity with campus life, and only recently he had taken a few distance education Bible courses.

From the outside looking in, he was not what one might call "the ideal" candidate. Not even close. But God was looking at Treese from the inside out.

"Sometimes people think that God has a checklist of criteria a person has to meet before he or she can serve Him," says E. Scott Martin, national director for Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. "I've come to believe it's often more about the willingness of the heart."

For Treese, an unexpected and unknown world of ministry suddenly was placed before him. He may have been unqualified, but he was willing to allow God to use him.

Once again, if instant success had greeted Treese, his continuing presence at EKU may be easier to understand. But his first year ended with no active Chi Alpha members at EKU.

Year two, Treese saw eight students start attending Chi Alpha, but by year's end the group was once again down to zero. Striking out two consecutive years might have been enough to end any Chi Alpha leader's efforts, but during that second year, he had the opportunity to lead a young man to Christ, bolstering his resolve.

"I still felt that I was where God wanted me to be," he says. "I was determined to stay the course or until God told me to quit."

In his third year (2001-2002), things finally began to turn around. The group finished the year with 10 people in it. Treese says that from that first group of 10, 3 of those students went into full-time ministry. Then in his fourth year at EKU, the group became firmly established with an average attendance of 20 students.

Since then, Treese has seen the EKU Chi Alpha grow to as many as 40 students, but with total turnover taking place every four years, the size of the group fluctuates from year to year, ranging between 20 and 40 students.

"Although Ray didn't see many visible signs of growth those first two years, I believe his commitment to God's call resulted in seeds being planted," Martin says. "And as a result of his determination, he not only planted seeds, but has come to see the results as well."

In his attire of shorts, T-shirt and a baseball cap, Treese makes himself available around campus; holds events such as passing out grilled cheese sandwiches, hosting a movie night, or conducting a weekend retreat; or simply visits with a student over a cup of coffee. As a result, many of the 17,000 EKU students have come to view him as the campus grandfather.

Ray Treese at Lake Reba
Ray Treese, center, hamming it up with his Chi Alpha group on a retreat at Lake Reba.

"As students see me as a grandfather, I have an immediate rapport with them," he says. "Students will talk to me about things they may not even discuss with their own parents."

Treese, who attends Faith Created Assembly in Richmond, also works hard to help his Chi Alpha students develop the Christian life skills they will need once they graduate, having them lead in many areas of ministry and in services. As an example, he tells how there used to be 15 bars in relatively small area of town, frequented by thousands of students.

"Our students would go downtown about the time the bars closed and pass out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and witness to students," he recalls. "They would witness to students and offer them free rides back to campus. Students and ministers would also do prayer walks where the bars were...within three years, there were only two or three bars left and only a relative handful of students frequenting them."

Treese explains that although retirees may not initially consider Chi Alpha as a ministry for them, he is living proof that age is not a limitation. However, he says the first step is to educate the local pastor so the door can be opened to seniors.

"A church may not be able to afford to hire a full-time minister to head up a Chi Alpha group on a local college campus, but there are seniors who would be happy to take over a ministry like that — as many are self-supporting with their retirement income and as they would be district appointed missionaries, they could also receive funding from programs such as Speed the Light," Treese says. "But, the problem is, they don't know how to get it started. If the church would join with district and national Chi Alpha leaders to present the opportunity, perhaps conduct a workshop, I think there would be seniors who would really enjoy this."

"Ray took the required courses through Global University to earn his credentials," Martin says. "Retirees or those who are about to retire can start taking these distance education courses now and see the doors to ministry in all kinds of fields — including Chi Alpha — become open to them. Retiring may signal the end of one part of a person's life, but it could also signal the beginning of a whole new life of fulfillment in ministry!"

"The first time I led someone to Christ on campus . . . that's what really turned me on to campus ministry," Treese says. "Students from broken families, students with disruptive parents, students from better parts of town — it doesn't matter the background — if you need Christ you need Christ. To see them turned on to Jesus makes it all worth while."

 

Authors: Dan Van Veen

Search Assemblies of God News Archives