Melodie Malone '05

I moved to Atlanta in 2009 to work for WinShape camps, and led worship for them until 2014. Around the time that I moved to Atlanta, Passion City Church was starting. I was looking for a place to get involved and felt led to be a part of the church. I could tell the Spirit of God was moving there, and I wanted to be involved in that.

I got plugged in, started serving, and God kept opening doors. I was part of our choir and eventually started leading worship which led me to become a part of what is now Passion Music. With Passion Music, we get to worship with people across the nation and record records.

I’ve had the privilege of traveling to and worshiping in some incredible places. The two that immediately come to my mind are South Africa and Israel. In Cape Town, we led worship in the soccer stadium, and seeing God bring cultures together through the gospel was one of the most incredible moments of my life. We also got to see the places where Jesus walked and talked in Israel, and that made scripture come to life.

I realized that I loved the way music connects my heart to Jesus in an unexplainable way. I can’t rationalize this out, but God has created music in such a way that it helps us express our heart to Him. That's what I love about what I do. I love that I get to help people encounter Jesus. And at the end of the day, that's why I do what I do because being on a stage and entertaining people is not my idea of a good time. I'm very much an introvert and don’t want to be the center of attention. But I do what I do because I have found God, and encountered Him that way, and so I want to help other people experience Him like that.

Brenda Jewell and Bob Chandler were instrumental in helping me develop my love for music, educating me, helping me understand what could be, and just propelling me into that. I grew up loving music and desiring to pursue it in some form or fashion, but I didn't know what that looked like—especially because 15 years ago, being a worship leader for a living wasn't really an option as it is today. I went to a passion conference in Nashville in 2006, and my eyes were opened to the possibilities of what could be.

“I’m proud of Melodie’s continued growth as a musician,” Chandler said. “I am proud that I had the opportunity to hear Melodie work on her writing at a young age. Reflecting on Melodie’s early passion for writing and her expression of her faith through music gives me great joy.”

“From the first day of middle school choir, Melodie stood out as a joyful, committed musician with skills and a work ethic way beyond her years,” Jewell said. “She loved making music and was a catalyst and vocal leader for our groups, even at that young age. Melodie wanted to improve at every turn and would regularly ask for specific feedback which, as both an instrumentalist and a vocalist, was a key component to her continued growth.”

I came to FRA in middle school during seventh grade, and it was my first year in Nashville. In middle school and upper school, you're truly trying to figure out who you are, what you love to do, and what God has made you to do. I found that through the vocal ensemble, musicals like Pippin and Guys and Dolls, and the jazz and pep bands at FRA.

Mrs. Jewell and Mr. Chandler were the ones who directed those experiences and helped me discover my love for music and performing. They believed in me so much, and they championed me. I knew that they were there for me and excited—I felt so much love from both of them. They helped me walk confidently in who I was and be willing to pursue music in college.

“Melodie is a solid part of the foundation of our FRA Jazz Ensemble program,” Chandler said. “She was one of our first featured vocalists. In our band, she was an excellent saxophonist and clarinetist, a strong group leader, and inspiring team player. First and foremost, Melodie is a down to earth, remarkable person. Her strong faith and heart for others have an energy and spirit that touches anyone around her.”

“When she moved to working with WinShape Camps after she graduated, my first thought was how blessed the kids were going to be by her mentoring and her personal walk with the Lord, in addition to her musicianship,” Jewell said. “Seeing her lead in worship as a part of the Passion ministry has been an amazing affirmation of who she is as a believer and as a gifted vocalist/musician—a beautiful fit. As I watched Melodie’s virtual performance during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on an internationally televised stage this past year, I was moved to tears. Her unwavering dedication to her Lord and to her craft earned her the accolades and the witness that she so passionately continues to share. Melodie was a pure pleasure to teach and now to celebrate. I am blessed to call her a colleague and friend.”

Music was more of a progressive love of mine. There wasn't one specific moment that I thought, "This is it." I couldn’t ever imagine anything else that I would do. I grew up singing in church and singing and playing piano for our youth group, so it just felt like a natural progression. I thought, “I love doing this. If I could do this for a living, that would be amazing. I don't know what that looks like, but I'm just going to keep moving in that direction until something becomes clear.”

At FRA, there are high expectations and standards, which was great for me as a student. It helped me rise to the occasion and instilled a hard work ethic in my life by what was required of me.

I have some great memories from the football games and the comradery that came from playing with the pep band and just being there together. I loved the opportunity to explore different avenues that I never would have discovered on my own. I know that music probably wouldn't have been as big of a deal if we hadn’t moved to Nashville and started attending FRA.

I thrived in the smaller environment and community at FRA. My experience felt more personal. I knew my teachers, I had relationships with them, and I got specific attention. I think I would have felt overwhelmed if I had been at a larger public high school. The freedom to talk about Jesus, regularly going to chapels, and being around that culture was instrumental for me. FRA propelled me into being confident enough to pursue what I wanted to pursue.

I was guided and cared for, and that created a solid foundation for moving forward after I graduated from FRA. I had those specific people that invested in my life, and that made me confident moving forward.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to take more risks, get outside of my comfort zone, and to not be afraid to fail. I always wanted to do things the right way, and so I wouldn't necessarily take the chance if I didn't think I could succeed. And so, take risks and be willing to fail and learn from your mistakes. Do all of this by looking through the lens of your opportunities. Don’t look at your own ability, but God’s capability, and realize that He is the one who will carry you through all of those things.

I would tell a current student to choose his or her friends wisely and choose wisely on who you let speak into your life. Make sure you're in the word of God, and let that be the ultimate thing that is leading and guiding you.

Where I am today is one thousand percent of the Lord because I would have never ever pictured that I would be here. Part of that is being faithful with what He puts in your hands and blooming where you're planted. I felt like I was supposed to be a part of Passion City Church, so I planted myself there. Whatever God put in my hands, I wanted to be faithful with it, whether it was small or large. I was faithful with the small things, and I started seeing Him open door after door after door. I had to truly trust and put my faith in Him while letting Him guide me, and being obedient and walking in those things daily. 

Melodie is a worship leader for Passion Music and Passion City Church. She attended FRA from 1999-2005 and was involved in choir, jazz band, pep band, Evening with the Arts, Cocoa and Carols, Guys and Dolls, Pippin, Fiddler on the Roof, and a member of National Honor Society. Melodie's mom, Kathy, teaches pre-algebra in the middle school at FRA.