Hannah Chancellor is the sweet backing voice for the band An Epic, No Less. The band’s keyboardist is engaging, yet a self-proclaimed wallflower with a possible obsession with lace. She hates public speaking and isn’t necessarily excited about the spotlight of interviews, but paradoxically performing music in front of a crowd is like heaven.
Hannah has always been in love with music, but she actually established a career as a School Psychologist working with kindergarten through second graders. Even though Hannah loves her career, she longed to be a part of something greater when Todd Larson approached her husband about forming a worship band. After Dan Chancellor agreed to become Larson’s drummer, Hannah was the next quick and natural addition to the band. She explains, “After we got married, we moved and I felt like there was something missing. So it was kind of wild – definitely a God thing – when one of our friends called up Dan and said, ‘Alright, I’ve decided I’m going to play worship music. I want you to do it with me’,” Hannah maintains her classroom career, but insists God is using her at school and through the band.
Along with maintaining a very hectic lifestyle, learning the music industry has been the hardest part of forming An Epic, No Less, “That’s probably the biggest struggle that we all have, being a new band, being new to the music industry and understanding how everything works – booking agents and labels – understanding how to wade through all situations,” says Chancellor. When life becomes a series of new adventures, it’s easy to feel discouraged. “Balance life and music, that’s probably really the hardest thing. Any time you’re new or putting out something that is new, there are always people who love it and there are people who don’t. We try to cling to the believers and the people who are very supportive.”
Music is powerful, it shares the word of God, but it also shares human emotion. It definitely helps people enter into worship.
Hannah laughed when asked how she focuses on God now that she’s part of a band, “When you’re sitting in a van for a really long time with anyone, you certainly develop a feeling that you need some alone time. But, we all manage that pretty well. We’re family, even the ones that aren’t blood family, they are family.” A routine helps define your personal time with God, “I think the best time is in the mornings. That’s when you wake, thank God for being there; He’s given you the day. My drive to work, when I’m alone and I turn off the radio; those are the times that I use as a break.”
The band has developed into a spiritual outlet to help Hannah stay grounded and connected with God. Every word in every song is written with intention. “We pray about everything, we’re going to be intentional about everything that we do. We want to be intentional with the music that we write. All along we’ve kind of said, ‘These are God’s songs. We’re going to let Him do with them whatever He wants’.” The goal of An Epic, No Less is to serve people in worship and prayer, sharing God’s love and to be His hands and feet. The band hopes to serve the church, and as Hannah describes, “lead people in a range of different musical interests into worship. We want to be able to offer people something that they want to listen to, that encourages them to bring God into their life. Just drawing people together and closer to Him.” Hannah states with great passion, “We’ve been so blessed to offer these thoughts to people. It’s been amazing to see that we have such a platform to share the love of God. It’s been a journey and an adventure. I’m just excited to see where God takes it.” Being able to worship God and encourage others through music is such a blessing for Hannah, a life-long lover of music, “Music is powerful, it shares the word of God, but it also shares human emotion. It definitely helps people enter into worship.”
These are God’s songs. We’re going to let Him do with them whatever He wants.
Hannah is incredibly passionate about the topic of relationships. She fears that teens don’t enter into relationships with intention or a purpose, and don’t protect their hearts while engaging in a relationship. “I think it’s really important for girls to just guard their hearts. There’s a lot of pressure on the young women in our world to get really seriously involved, really quickly.” Hannah goes on to explain how she interprets the biblical term guarding your heart as, “you are making decisions in relationships or potential relationships based [not on] impulse. That you take time to get to know people, to analyze the situation, to pray about it, to talk to your family about it, to not enter into sexual type relationships without understanding the full impact of all of that… To identify every type of temptation that you can, and resist it, and to pray through those decisions that you make of pursuing that relationship or not.”
When speaking specifically on marriage, she is saddened that there is no longer a sacred part of marriage presented to us by much of our society, especially media, “We see so [many] relationships where they’re together, they’re apart, together, apart, they’re married, they’re not. The sacred part of marriage and quality of relationships is really, really downplayed. I think that’s probably one of the most important things that you end up being involved with in your life, and I hate that there are such terrible examples of how we need to treat others. The worth and self-respect of people is dwindling.” Hannah feels that students have easy access to each other through the information they provide on Facebook and other social media outlets. Teens don’t need to create deep bonds with one another because everyone knows the same details of their life. Plus, it’s easy to discover how someone feels about them from postings regarding the information put out there. Chancellor claims teens have become comfortable with stating “everything they think without thinking about the impact of their words. Young people have a lot of pressure to do things that they aren’t ready for.” Hannah suggests great insight and encouragement for a relationship can be found in a small group bible study or youth group, “just talk about those kinds of things with people that are coming from a biblical standpoint.”
Hannah knows the first step in guarding your heart is understanding your own heart, “I think it’s always a good idea to self-analyze. The hardest time in most people’s lives is figuring out their direction. In finding your identity, you need to know that God is the essential thing in your life. Maybe as a young person, you don’t fully understand the impact of that in your life; I certainly know that that was true for myself. Always continue to do things that you’re interested in. If there are things that are tearing you away from your interests and don’t feel Godlike, then that’s probably not who you are. Always be involved in church or some type of church activity whether it’s youth group or accountability partners, small groups or even counseling. I think that all of those things are very important and crucial to keeping you centered. By centered I mean being in a state of equilibrium in your mind and feeling good about who you are and what you’re doing.”
If we’re seeking God in all aspects of our lives, He will meet us where we are, is the essential lesson that Hannah is learning through producing An Epic, No Less’ debut album, Echo of Love. “This whole process has forced me in the direction to trust what He has in store for us. I like to be in control of things, and I like to know exactly how things are going to work out. That’s not how these kinds of things work. Just trusting that God has a plan for this and to be okay with that has been something that we all have been reminded of. He’s going to meet us there and make a way for us.”
In finding your identity, you need to know that God is the essential thing in your life.
Even though God has paved the way for An Epic, No Less, the band has experienced trials and tribulations, which require great strength and self-confidence. “Things that happen from small to large can be very discouraging at times. Trusting that there is a plan here, we’re a part of it for a reason and that’s not necessarily something that will be revealed at this moment. But up until this point, God’s made the way for us, so there’s no reason to think that He wouldn’t continue to do that. It’s been important to remember that anytime I’m feeling like I’m being poked by a porcupine, it means that I’ve drawn closer to God.”
Discouragement can be overcome by the joy of using God-given talents to journey through life and glorify Him. There have been times in Hannah’s life when she didn’t respond by using the talents God gave her. As she says, those times “were pretty dull and pretty lifeless, so it’s been a balance of responding and using that talent and seeing how God’s blessed me. That’s what He does.” So, when life seems bland, don’t shy away from God’s call, because He is certainly calling you to something astounding!
Check out Echo of Love, the debut album of An Epic, No Less now available.