My Favorite Band - Hillsong United

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The band formed as close friends from within Hillsong Church's youth ministry, originally called 'Powerhouse Youth', led for many years by Donna Crouch. As the house band for the youth meetings of Powerhouse, the band played covers of Hillsong Church and various other ministries' music, sometimes members contributing to Youth Alive and its' albums (Darlene Zschech was involved in Youth Alive before Hillsong Church). Dr Mark Evans (Macquarie Uni) states in his Ph. D thesis, "A youth band was formed from the Hillsong music team, which took what was happening in the church musically and played it louder and rockier, appealing directly to a youth demographic". Steve McPherson, Deb Ezzy and Donia Makedonez were significant members. Powerhouse grew and was split in the late 1990s into two youth groups, 'Powerhouse' (18-25 years of age) and 'Wildlife' (12-16 yrs). Reuben Morgan, assisted by Marcus Beaumont and Tanya Riches were placed in charge of the Powerhouse band, with the former Channel V Leg-Up competition winner 'Able' band boys, Joel Houston and Marty Sampson in charge of Wildlife, while Luke Munns was the main drummer, and Michael Guy Chislett the main guitarist. In the Summer of 1997, the youth groups and these bands joined for the annual Summercamp, and the camp was called 'United'.Delirious?' Martin Smith's song 'Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble' was the theme song of the camp, and the momentum of youth carried well beyond the camp into church services. Reuben Morgan wrote 'My Redeemer Lives' as a way for the youth to continue worshipping, along with many other songs that appear on the album 'By Your Side' written by Marty Sampson and Luke Munns 'Stay'.Darlene Zschech suggested to Reuben that they make an album in 1998 after many songs were written in the youth ministry, and the EP 'One' was recorded. The album was packaged with the Hillsong annual album, and both achieved Gold sale status in Australia. 'Everyday' was recorded in 1999. The band continued to release an album each year, rebranding as Hillsong United in 2002 after Reuben Morgan stepped down as co-worship leader of the band. Joel Houston, the eldest son of the church's senior pastor Brian Houston, stepped up to lead the group together with Marty.Current members of the Hillsong United band include Jonathon Douglass (J.D.), Jadwin "Jad" Gillies, Holly Watson, Annie Garratt, Bec Gillies, and Michelle Fragar, daughter of Russell Fragar. Michael Guy Chislett plays guitar and Matthew Tennikoff plays bass guitar. Former original drummer Luke Munns made a transition from the drums to front the rock/indie band LUKAS. Popular New Zealand artist Brooke Fraser recently joined the band when she joined the church, first appearing on United We Stand.The annual Hillsong United CD/DVD was recorded over many years during their October youth conference Encounterfest, with the album released in the first quarter of the following year. The 2007 album All of the Above was the first album to be fully studio recorded, containing videos of songs on the DVD. The band has toured in a number of countries, leading worship to thousands in North and South America, Europe and Asia.Following his marriage to Michelle on November 2006, Marty stepped down as one of the main worship leaders of the band. He contributed two more songs with United, 'Devotion' & 'Saviour King' w/ Mia Fieldes, before he officially stepped down. These songs are part of the 2007 release All of the Above . Brooke replaced Marty as one of the principle worship leaders of the band, while Marty went on to move with the main band to serve as one of main Hillsong worship leaders of the band, alongside Darlene and Reuben.

Philippine Activates H1N1 Hotline in UK

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Philippine officials in the United Kingdom and Ireland have activated a hotline for Filipinos based there to call if they have concerns about the A/H1N1 (swine flu) virus.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said this is aside from the Philippine Embassy's advice to all Filipinos in UK and Ireland to take precautionary measures against the A/H1N1 virus.
"Filipinos who have concerns on A/H1N1 may call the Embassy hotline at 07802790695," the DFA said.
As of May 3, the DFA said the World Health Organization has reported 15 cases of A/H1N1 in the United Kingdom and one in Ireland. There are 200,000 Filipinos in the United Kingdom and 12,000 in Ireland.
On the other hand, the Philippine Embassy also instructed the Philippine Honorary Consulates under its jurisdiction to closely monitor suspected and confirmed swine flu cases and to report cases involving Filipino nationals.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Nurses Association of UK, the largest organization of Filipino nurses in the United Kingdom, helped distribute the Embassy’s advisory and other UK Government reminders on the A/H1N1 outbreak.

Emong Makes Landfall and Floods here in Pangasinan

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Typhoon Emong made its landfall Thursday evening in the northern Luzon province of Pangasinan and is expected to sweep northeastward across the Cordillera mountains before exiting via Cagayan into the Philippines Sea.
Pagasa weather services chief Nathaniel Cruz said Emong (international code name: (Chan-Hom) made its landfall about 7 p.m. in Bolinao, one of Pangasinan’s westernmost town and which guards the Lingayen Gulf.
Cruz said the typhoon was to cross Lingayen Gulf and hit land a second time at 10 p.m.
"Ang unang tama sa north Pangasinan, sa Bolinao (It made its first landfall in Bolinao town in North Pangasinan)," he said in an interview on dzBB radio.
Cruz said Emong was expected to cross Lingayen Gulf and make a second landfall at La Union, then pass through Cordillera mountain provinces before hitting Cagayan in the northeastern side of Luzon Island.
Emong is expected to weaken after crossing these land masses, as it is already far from the sea, Cruz said.
The cyclone presently has maximum sustained winds of 150 kph near the center, he said.
"As it passes through land, it is far from the sea where it draws its power.This will eventually weaken it," he explained.
The typhoon is expected to exit land mass at 3 to 4 p.m. Friday at its present speed and direction, he added.
Pagasa said Emong was expected to be 70 km northeast of Tuguegarao City in Cagayan on Friday afternoon; 300 km northeast of Aparri, Cagayan or 160 km east of Basco, Batanes on Saturday afternoon; and 330 km north-northeast of Basco Batanes on Sunday afternoon.