Peaks & Valleys
With an impressive regional touring schedule, regular rotation on indie radio, and staff duties in his local church, worshipleader/songwriter Steve Kropp is offering his fair share of both excitement and relevancy to contemporary Christian music. More importantly, his music ministry is directing youth and adults alike toward seeking Christ-likeness and growing the Kingdom of God. Raised in a Christian family in Pennsylvania, Steve moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia in 2000. Enamored with the Bible Belt's style of worship, he soon answered a call to serve the Lord through his gifts in music. With this obedience came many blessings as a musician, worship leader, songwriter and speaker. Steve returns this favor by embracing Psalm 34:3 as the foundation for his music ministry: "O magnify the Lord with me, and let's exalt His name together!" In July 2005, Steve released his debut CD, Magnify, comprised of original praise & worship songs with pop/rock arrangements in a progressive recording style. Ironically, Magnify's success resulted in a calling to return to his roots. By taking a more organic approach (à la The Beatles and Dave Matthews Band) to his follow-up project, Steve found he could focus his songwriting more on the emotional aspect of the Christian walk. This led to the utilization of more acoustic genres, such as folk, jazz, bluegrass, and classical. Emphasizing the natural, easy-going worship that has inspired him, this approach will ensure the appeal of Steve's music ministry to wider audiences. Released in September 2006, Peaks & Valleys, was recorded at Third Stream Music and produced by Matt Montoro. This new collection of songs focuses on the natural element of music, employing some of the best session players Virginia has to offer on mainly acoustic instruments without effects. From the breathy jazz flute on the opener "Here I Am", to bluegrass pickers on "I Surrender", to a classical string section on the ballad "Captivate Me", the arrangements and instrumentation create a transparent emphasis on the songwriting, melody, and sentiment of a man in today's world struggling on his journey to follow Jesus Christ. Lyrically, these songs are more topical than the vertical praise & worship that is so common in today's churches. Peaks & Valleys offers hope through songs of healing, faithfulness, and prayer, while challenging the listener with themes of sacrifice and missions. Steve's music ministry is represented in various ensembles in the live setting. He spends most Sunday mornings in a staff position as music director of New Season UMC, a church he helped plant in Massaponax, Virginia in 2005. Steve also travels solo for conferences and festivals, appears as an acoustic duet, trio, or quartet for worship concerts, and brings a full electric band for high-energy youth events. Regardless of the form in which his music is presented, it is an environment conducive to all ages singing, clapping, dancing, and worshipping together!