by Kaiti Ray
Kingsburg has made way for many young musicians in the past, and while many high school bands are typically started in high school one local band, This Side of Light, had their start long before that. What was a simple performance at the very end of a sixth grade talent show, segued into a band that has been writing and performing ever since that first moment on stage.
Since then, Luke Gramza, Jason Enns, Malachi Robertson, Jacob Donabedian, and Brent Hanson have grown much older and almost three feet taller. Luke, Jason, Malachi, and Jacob are all seniors this year at Kingsburg High School (KHS), while Brent is a freshman at Fresno State, having graduated from KHS last year.
Though the band has been writing music since Junior High, This Side of Light (TSL) just released their first full-length album on iTunes this month. The album is titled Alpha and Omega, and has a total of eight songs.
The five guys are a very close-knit group of friends who are like brothers since they have all known each other since before TSL was even an idea. “The best part about being in a band for so long is seeing and experiencing how much we’ve grown over the years and how our music has matured and gotten better. I now have four brothers that I didn’t have before we started,” said Jason.
Some bands go through hard times in which they don’t know if they will be able to continue, but with God as their front man TSL has never been faced with anything they couldn’t get through together. Jason shared that their biggest hardship wasn’t anything like juggling school and music, or Malachi’s involvement in two bands (TSL and Planet to Portal), but the fact that the band was split in their predictions as to who would win the 2010 NBA finals.
Being a very faith oriented band, TSL lets their light shine through the many themes found in their name, songs, and album title. “Alpha and Omega,” holds a very strong religious meaning. The band shared that the concept was taken from the end of the book of Revelation, where it is stated that God is the beginning and the end. Jacob said that one of their most important goals is to spread the Word of God through their music.
TSL has been playing shows since they were in Junior High. At first, the band played shows at church functions, or concerts put on by the community in some of the churches. A few years later, as the boys grew into young men, they found themselves willing and able to play at many different venues around the Valley.
Perhaps their biggest accomplishment to date was being invited to play at the Summer of 2010 Spirit West Coast—an annual Christian music festival that has hosted bands as big as Amber Pacific, and Reliant K in past years. “[Spirit West Coast] felt quite different from other venues. You could feel that everyone there cared so much about the music and the purpose behind it,” said Jacob.
Only God knows what the future has for this small town band with a huge heart. They are so focused on using their talents for a purpose larger than themselves; they don’t necessarily care if they make it big someday. “Only God knows. If He wanted to, He could make us the most popular artists in the world, but that’s not why we do this,” said Luke about what the future may hold for TSL.
For more info, upcoming shows, and a link to purchase Alpha and Omega, on iTunes visit This Side of Light on at Facebook.
The release party for their new CD is tonight, September 18, at 6:30 p.m.