Once by Fire is a band of the Christian Rock persuasion, headquartered not far from the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada.
Once by Fire's recently released debut album, 'Goodbye Scarlet', features Robin C. Kitchen on lead vocals, background vocals and guitar, Brian Kitchen on drums, Dan Rutledge on bass guitar, and lead guitar on various tracks by musicians Dave Khallil and Tom Lister.
Singer/songwriter Robin C. Kitchen gives her personal testimony and some background on the making of this album...
"This morning, a family friend that I hadn't talked to in a very long time asked me by email how I became a Christian...? What motivated the change? Most people I am getting in touch with (now that I've become more involved in social media) would not remember me as a professing Christian."
"I had just decided last night, before going to sleep, that I would not post this "testimony" on the website with the music. The first thing I read upon waking this morning was the aforementioned email with the question about what had happened to me, so we took that to be confirmation to bypass my feelings and share here. My music is going to be in the public realm now and I feel that's just about as personal as you can get, but it does somehow feel different than posting an open letter like this."
"To touch on the issue of motive, in recording the Goodbye Scarlet album, let me say that I frequently recall a woman we went to church with, at a ladies retreat, once stating something along the lines of "The richest places in the world are the cemeteries. All those wasted talents lie therein, having gone to the grave unspent. What a difference they could have made." That message resounded in me and has remained in my thoughts for years. I have also read many times in the Bible that, as a Christian, I am obligated to use my talents. My contribution to this album is first and foremost, the application of particular skills I posses to God's glory."
"Of my personal history of faith, and the dream of making music... Our family was regularly attending a Catholic church when I was about 6. I recall hearing about God and wanting Him to be a part of my life, but beyond that general inclination as a child (and some regularly spoken memorized prayers), I was all but without any kind of faith for the next decade."
"I considered myself before my conversion to be pretty conscientious, but not necessarily "religious". When I, at age 16, had finished watching all of my worldly possessions fall through the air from below (the items having just been thrown off the balcony of my third floor apartment), and was afterward found crying at a co-worker's house, a man who had grown up in a Christian home sat down and preached the gospel to me. He told me of man's natural propensity to sin, that God loved me, and essentially, of my need for salvation."
"Like most North Americans today, I'd heard the same general tune playing in the background all my life - but this time, I actually heard something with some weight to it. For the first time, what he was saying matched what I saw in the world around me, and in myself. In my short life, I had already witnessed enough depravity and done enough things I was ashamed of, to support the notion of an inherent proclivity in mankind to do things beyond the better sense of one's conscience. There was no money to be made, no product to be sold, no denominational flag-waving happening; this man simply saw that I was hurting and shared a truth that changed my life."
"I prayed 'The Sinner's Prayer' with him that night and the elation I felt for the next three days was off the charts. I eventually came back down to a feeling of normalcy, but I felt changed inside. I didn't see things the same way anymore. I had been forgiven, and I'd genuinely experienced the impact of it. I didn't cross the threshold of a church building for the first couple of years, but I had a sense of God's presence with me continuously."
"At age 18, after two more years of partying hard (I was converted now, but not many would have guessed it), I had reached another low point. My family was broken and dispersed and I had no vision of the future. All of my friendships revolved around trying to feel good. I was chronically unsatisfied, uncomfortable around even my closest friends and family, chasing the wrong relationships, the wrong things, always feeling different, ever desperate...I hated my life."
"Having finally had enough of feeling helpless and pathetic, I cried a prayer to God one night. I wanted things to be different but I didn't have the strength of conviction to make the necessary changes. I was like a spiritual infant, born and yet unfed. I direly needed to be taught the basics of how to live. I was sitting alone in my car, when a thought suddenly occurred to me. Not of my own instigation, the notion quietly occurred that I could minister to people in music, with all the passion I possessed, if I would allow myself to be led by Him. I was without hope or direction getting into my car that night, but when I got out, I was finally ready to walk a different path. The next day I made drastic changes in a lot of areas."
"Some time passed after this incident, and I met my future husband. A co-worker I was temping with for a few days started telling me good things about this drummer friend of his, whom he had just recently helped move to the city. Having discovered that we were all musicians and Christians with similar tastes in music, we formed a band."
"Though that music project ultimately failed, in the process Brian and I discovered we were very compatible personalities and started our life together. I got baptized by immersion. We had some missteps in the beginning of our relationship, but God is gracious, and eventually we got married."
"Brian knew scripture really well, despite being what some would call "backslidden" in the faith, and not having gone to church for years when I met him. The understanding he possessed about the nature of God was something I coveted for myself, though, and my first real grasp of the intricacies of scripture was through his eyes."
"We moved across the country a couple of times and had our beloved children. After we had had our third child, we formed a band, and the resulting music was quite good, but this project also dissolved before we reached our goals. The Bible says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12) and I can personally attest to this truth. It was painfully disheartening to invest myself fully into my work and watch it fall apart before my eyes repeatedly."
"Many times over the years (since that night in my car) I've questioned the reasons behind the time spent waiting to see this hope of making music fulfilled, but I never fully accepted that it wasn't going to happen. Whenever I have been tempted to consider that perhaps it was never meant to be, God has whispered into my heart by some means or another, to be patient and wait. Finally, three years ago, I felt the draw to start writing again. I began to do so mostly whilst sitting in our vehicle, waiting for family members engaged in other activities."
"Though Brian and I have been united in our goals throughout our relationship and, specifically, during the making of this album, getting it done has admittedly been a nightmare much of the time. Our marriage has been stretched to the point of almost breaking, but when we needed mediation, the right person was there to help. Our finances have looked like they would not suffice for the costs associated, but provision came. When we have tried to do something that would have (in hindsight) not worked out, we have been re-directed by circumstances beyond our control or foresight. We have wondered at every step which way to go, and guidance has always come. We have both been through the proverbial wringers emotionally and spiritually, so I personally consider the fact that you're even reading this now to be a huge victory. To have gotten to this point means that we didn't give in to the temptation to walk away and take the path of least resistance, which both of us will say would have been a big relief at many junctures."
"Someone asked me "How did you know, when you were facing resistance, that this particular goal was something you should continue to pursue, and that God wasn't just against it?" and to that I say "Because when the time was finally right, every single component we needed to do this was in place, as we needed it, and the primary criterion required to sidestep every obstacle we faced has been the determination to see it to the end. Just like walking in faith". At every turn we have made it a point to say: "Above all, Your will be done in this", and we continue to do so now."
"We are grateful to those who worked on this with us. It feels really good to finally have the evidence of our efforts sitting in our hands, and to hear how the music has affected people who've listened thus far. We look forward to making more albums in the future, Lord willing."
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