Earlier this month, I had the privilege of experiencing a live performance by “Fly These Wings,” an on-campus band comprised of front man Eric Baker, guitarist Noah Huffman, bassist Niles Berry and drummer Micah Butts – all university undergrads.
Playing live for three hours, the atmosphere in the overcrowded radio station was electrifying. Sixteen people crammed into Forester Radio’s control room during the “Shlatt Bot Radio Network”to hear a rousing acoustic performance. Space was so limited, Butts had to sit on the lap of a fan during the show. Song after song delighted the little crowd I was a part of. Sometimes we participated with claps and “oohs.” But those three hours were anything but boring.
“Fly These Wings” began as a performance by the current members as well as friend Thommy Brown during Forester Night 2014. The five delivered a performance of popular songs which foreshadowed the style they would later showcase in their original material.
For months after the concert, nothing happened between the members, but they all stayed in touch. Berry said Huffman’s intentionality was the genesis of the band.
“After Forester Night, we went our separate ways,” Berry said. “But Noah was intentional about getting us together to make music.”
Within a month of their initial meeting, the band had eight original songs. The name, however, came later.
“At first, it didn’t mean anything,” Berry said. “It was just a cool name. Later, we realized it was a testament to our faith.”
While the lyrics of “Fly These Wings” are not exclusively Christian, they infuse their faith into all of their music and performances. Huffman described songwriting as a deeply personal experience.
“I love being able to write a song in private for myself and then take it to the band and do revisions,” Huffman said. “It’s a great discipline to open up work you’ve poured your soul into and then bring it to those closest to you.”
Songwriting is a collaborative effort for the band.
“We rarely come to the band with a 100-percent-finished song,” Berry said.
Often, a member will work out a part they like and bring it to the band for fine tuning.
Baker discussed his song “Waiting Game,” a refrain about the death of his best friend’s father.
“It’s got a lot of nonsense lyrics, but it’s one of the deepest songs I’ve ever written,” Baker said.
Not all of their music leans to the serious side, however. “On Top of the World” exhibits the band’s characteristic, foot-stomping energy.
While the musical energy is a hallmark of “Fly These Wings,” it is the members themselves which make the band so unique. When asked his position in the band, Butts listed not just percussion under his duties, but morning Pilatest instructor. This is the type of zany antics that come out of all four members. Butts said the other members are the best part of his experience in the band.
Huffman said he is in it for the long haul.
“I’ll keep playing the live music game as long as God allows me to,” Huffman said.
Huffman’s sentiment is echoed by all band members. They said their hope is that the future will allow the band to stay together and continue producing music, although Berry said the future is uncertain as he will be attending graduate school.
“Fly These Wings” is currently working on the release of videos highlighting the band, the members and their musical style. The band is also planning to record an EP during the fall 2015 semester.