Most musical groups perform simply to entertain, but Against the Current (ATC) hopes to have a more profound impact on Boston College and the surrounding area. As the only Christian a cappella group on campus, ATC has professed a unique and powerful message for the past 17 years. This year, ATC hopes to express an especially meaningful theme: For the next eight months, the group will focus on the phrase “Love Pours Over.”
Mishell Park, co-president of ATC, is extremely excited for this year’s theme. Park, a senior in the Lynch School of Education, has been a member of ATC since her freshman year. “Each year, the theme we focus on has related to my life in one way or another,” said Park. To shed light on the theme, Park provides the image of a cup. “When we love selfishly, our cup can run dry. But God is a source of love, and He never runs out. His love overflows our cup and spills into the lives of those around us.” Park believes the theme “Love Pours Over” has come at a very fitting time in her life. “As a senior in Lynch, I sometimes feel fatigued after a day of teaching other students. But when I open myself up to God’s love and have empathy for others, I end up feeling like I have more to give,” said Park.
According to Park, the theme “Love Pours Over” relates to ATC’s songs this year. The group typically performs contemporary Christian music or pop songs that they interpret in a spiritual way. People often sing along to certain tunes without truly understanding or processing the lyrics, but ATC takes seemingly insincere songs and performs them in meaningful ways. Park’s solo performance this year is “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry, which Park describes as a “soulful pop song.” She believes it relates to the year’s theme, as the lyrics describe an incessant love, similar to that of God. It conveys the image of something so deep and beautiful that is often overlooked.
ATC does not express their message through onstage performances alone; they also emulate God’s love in their interactions with one another. The group practices six hours a week. During this time with one another, they improve not only musically, but also spiritually. Park believes that while practice is a time for work (and some goofing off), sharing a few moments of reflection is very important. At the beginning of each practice, they have Prayer Request Time, which allows them to offer up their sufferings or desires to the group. They also host Praise and Prayer Night on the first Tuesday of every month. All members of the BC community are encouraged to come and join the group as they share in each other’s presence. ATC is religiously diverse, and people of all beliefs are welcome to join.
ATC’s theme of overflowing love spills out into the community beyond BC as well. A week before the second semester starts, the group has an annual week of service. According to Park, this experience allows them to “reflect on the best way to live as Jesus did, in humble servitude.” They volunteer at organizations such as Cradles to Crayons, which provides essentials for underprivileged children. The group also goes into Boston to sing for people on the street. Park recounts one time when ATC was in the city: They came across a homeless man sitting outside of Starbucks. When the group stopped to talk with him, he thanked them for being the first passersby that day to treat him like a normal person. Another time when they were singing on the street, “A professionally dressed woman was walking by, and she just started crying. She told us that she was going through her own difficulties, and that we had inspired her.” According to Park, “the most gratifying part of ATC is affecting people you don’t even intend to.” Whether we plan it or not, God’s love pours over our own cup and into the lives of those around us.
Park encourages everyone to experience this theme of love. “We’re all about singing music with a message. Everyone’s looking for this message whether they know it or not. Get to know us better and see what we’re about.” ATC is scheduled to perform at Pops on the Heights on September 30, and their fall concert is currently scheduled for December 3.