Nick Stanton, a 2008 Anderson University graduate, played with his band at the Ichthus Music Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind., in September. The Ichthus Music Festival originated in Wilmore, Kent., and has continued for more than 40 years; however, this is the first year for the Ichthus Fort Wayne festival. The festival is a one-day music, media and ministry experience that includes 50 artists and four stages.
The festival included headliners such as Switchfoot, Relient K, Family Force 5, Red, Haste the Day, Barlow Girl and many other national, local and regional artists. Ichthus is known for its music, but it also focuses on community, celebration and challenge. The entirety of the festivals’ focus is on Jesus and the redemptive work he wants to do in and through lives. The use of speakers, a parent and prayer tent, food, merchandise vendors and camping encompasses the theme of this year’s event BeCause. The high-impact speakers and use of ministries challenge and encourage followers to love God fully and live life for his purpose. [Photo on left: Lead guitarist and vocalist Nick Stanton performs at Ichthus Music Festival with his band members Dave Oliver, Jason Fest, Ryan Pannell and Justin Sonafer.]
Stanton used his time in college to prepare for his future. While at AU, he led worship during Chapel and 10:07 (a student-led acoustic worship service on Tuesday nights). These leadership roles, along with his resident assistant position in Dunn Hall, prepared him to lead worship and play for the Glory of God in many different places since graduation. Stanton graduated with a degree in Christian Ministries.
Stanton was raised in Liberty, Ind., on a cattle and horse farm where he began to utilize music as his escape from family struggles. Music has been a part of Stanton’s life since he began to play the piano at age 7. A few years later, he picked up a guitar and began practicing for countless hours in his room. During his childhood on the farm, he began to realize the impact music would have on his life.
“I remember I was listening to Garth Brooks', Thunder Rolls, and I decided I wanted to be just like that guy…So I started playing country music, and I lived on a farm so it seemed fitting to play,” said Stanton. “This is when I started using music as my outlet to escape from my home struggles.”
Stanton gave his life to the Lord in eighth grade and began to lead worship. This decision changed his life in many ways, and as a result, he decided to write Christian music opposed to secular.
Over the years, Stanton has led worship, spoken and performed at 60 churches across the U.S. and Mexico. He is currently on staff leading worship at Warsaw Community Church. Regardless of where Stanton is worshiping, he incorporates a message of “hope, to show that we are all humans struggling with different aspects of life and to know that God is with us.”
While playing on an outside stage at Ichthus Music Festival this fall, Stanton focused on songs that related to the crowd. Many songs he has written incorporate the theme of hope, forgiveness and love. He took time to pray with the crowd, so the focus was on God.
“In the next five years, my dream is to keep recording in the studio that was built in my home, to air my music on mainstream radio stations, help others with their music career and keep pursuing my leadership role in the church,” said Stanton.
- Lydia Smith is a senior from Indianapolis, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in peace and conflict transformation. Smith is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.