Honesty. Introspection. Integrity. Passion. Focus.
These are things Derek Sandstrom wants out of life, and they come through in his music. Since dedicating his life and music to Jesus Christ, these are things that have become foundational to Derek, and he seeks to share them through every performance of music he offers.
Derek owes many people thanks for his foundation of faith, including his parents, grandparents, and home church in Abington, PA, for introducing him to what it means to follow God in real life. Derek recalls how his grandfather's prayers always included a request for “a closer walk with Thee.” In time Derek would grow to understand what that means and just how important it is.
Music has always meant a lot to Derek. From figuring out hymns and commercial jingles on a small, electronic organ, to participating in his school's music program as a student, to performing music at the highest levels including at Carnegie Hall with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Chorale, to belting it out as the lead singer of rock bands, Derek has sampled a wide array of musical performing. Music is as ingrained in Derek as breathing, and he can't imagine life without it.
Another thing he can't imagine life without is family. From growing up in the Philadelphia area in a Christian home to starting his own family with his college sweetheart, Sheri, family is extremely important to Derek. “Family is a series of illustrations of God's love and care for us,” says Derek, “and it gives us incredible opportunities for growth.” Derek and Sheri have two wonderful boys: Morgan, 10, and Carter, 6. They live in central Pennsylvania, between Harrisburg and York.
What kind of a musician is Derek? He is a singer, a songwriter, a composer, an arranger, an instrumentalist, a teacher, and a lover of music. He has played in hard rock bands, saxophone quartets, jazz ensembles, classical wind ensembles, choral groups of all configurations, and marching bands. He has written music for himself, for bands, for choirs. He loves music of all kinds. “It's like flavors of ice cream to me, “ he says. “There's nothing wrong with vanilla, but sometimes you want something different. There are so many different kinds of music out there, and all of them with some type of beauty. I'm blessed to have tried making so many!”
These days Derek's music is still about his own heart, but it's mostly about what Jesus has done there. And he still tries to give folks a smile with his music, like when he goes to play big band music for nursing homes.
What is the future for Derek's music? He doesn't know. But with God at the helm, you can be sure it will be something very special and powerful. “The unknown can be scary. But I have put my future, and my family's future, in God's hands. So we have no reason to fear.”
Thank you, Lord, for yesterday. Thank you for today. Bring on tomorrow.