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CD Review

To The World

City Light News

April 2011

                                                                                                   ©2006-2024 MyCar Music                                  Mike’s Wing Page

Mike R. Schuster truly understands worship.

In the title track to his sophmore CD, To The World, the Calgary-based worship leader proclaims, “When I serve God in all I say and do, I offer praise to Him.” 

You see, worship is not just about lifting your voice and raising your hands to heaven. It’s about how you live your life - 24/7. In an age beset with earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdown, famine, war, economic turmoil, and marital breakdown, To The World serves as a rallying cry to the Church. And that is to pursue what James 1:27 refers to as “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless.” 

“What can I do for the One who sets me free?” Schuster sings. “When I serve the hungry, the needy, the lonely, the grieving, I can be the hands and feet of Jesus to this lost and troubled world.” 

It’s a catchy song. And as we sing it over and over again, hopefully it will inspire us to do more in the name of Christ. 

For seven years, Schuster served as the worship leader of Bow Valley Christian Church in northwest Calgary. But he recently left the position for a civil service job that’s given him the freedom to minister to a wide range of congregations on the weekend. 

Those who know Schuster will readily agree that you’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer guy. And his genuine passion for the Lord is infectious. 

But beyond physically leading worship, Schuster’s primary gifting is as a song-writer. His songs are well suited for congregational settings. Churches looking for more than just the latest Chris Tomlin tune and open to considering local material for their services would do well to get their hands on this CD. 

Songs like Celebrate Your LoveGod on HighTo The World, and You Alone Are God could fast become congregational favourites. To make it easy, chord charts, lead sheets, and even PowerPoint slides for every song on the album are available at www.mikerschuster.com. 

The 12 tracks on the project incorporate a broad swath of musical styles including pop, rock, country, folk, and inspirational. They include a healthy balance between more up tempo numbers and slower ballads. 

All are original compositions with the exception of Schuster’s remake of the Timothy Dwight hymn, I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord. Four of the tunes are also co-writes with fellow Christian artists - Jon Bauer, Laurell Barker, Dan Nel, and High Valley’s Brad Rempel. 

Production was handled by Schuster along with Leroy Harder and Dan Nel at Calgary’s Slyngshot Studios. Brought in for the recording was an impressive array of both local and out-of-town musicians, and the quality of the musicianship is very evident. 

Unfortunately, Schuster’s voice is the weakest link. Stronger lead vocals would take the recording to a higher level. While I do like his timbre, Schuster just hasn’t been blessed with amazing pipes. Then again, Bob Dylan was never lauded for his voice either. And that didn’t 
stop him. 

- Peter Fleck
City Light News