Back in 2009, local singer Jeff Sanders and guitarists Jeff Fisher and Jesse Wolf played together in the band Thunder In December. Their love of music was there, but something else was missing.
Thunder in December, a secular band, split that year, but Sanders, Fisher and Wolf formed an experimental Christian rock band called "To The Sky."
During the band's two-year existence, the wheels of success have started to roll, culminating in a recently established record deal.
Experimental rock band To The Sky will record an album under the direction of Tate Music Group in February. The band hopes to use the recording and exposure from it to spread a Christian message.
With Sanders, Fisher and Wolf, bassist Brandon Sage and drummer Cody Pacheco make up the present To The Sky lineup. Through music, the band tries to spread a message.
"The message we are sending is just the message of our savior, Jesus Christ," Sanders said. "As a band, there was a time when we weren't depending on him."
To The Sky has played more than 120 shows in New York and Pennsylvania at churches and secular venues.
Along the way, the band has received help from local individuals and churches, which have put on shows for the band. To The Sky has also received donations from the community, including an anonymous gift of $1,000 in 2010.
"We're hoping to give to the city of Jamestown what they've given to us," said Sanders, a youth pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church. "We're not in it for the money; we're in it to spread the message. Our overall goal is to help the community grow."
A one-album contract with Tate Music Group may provide the band the fuel it needs to make that happen.
In 2011, To The Sky asked its Facebook fans to visit Tate Music Group's page and make positive comments about the band. Record label executive Ryan Tate then gave the band a call, and a partnership soon formed.
To The Sky will record its first major release in Mustang, Okla., during the last week of February.
"In order to succeed in the music industry, you have to have a fanbase. Tate Music Group is going to allow us to expand our fanbase so we can last longer in the music industry," Sanders said, adding the contract will allow To The Sky to work with a professional producer in Oklahoma.
To The Sky won't perform again until after it completes the album. In the meantime, the band will continue to refine the tracks that will be featured on the record.
"We want to make sure we have everything down; that way we won't waste any time in the recording studio," Sanders said. "We're actually going to be bringing out some new stuff nobody has ever heard before. We'll also bring out some stuff from our previous records."
The band's music has gone over well with members of the Jamestown community and the areas beyond. In October, To The Sky led a conference in Syracuse for more than 400 college students.
The band has amassed more than 2,000 fans on Facebook, and Sanders believes a portion of them normally enjoy secular music.
"Christian rock isn't different than secular music; it's just the message we're trying to get across," he said. "It's always a good feeling to walk into a place and have kids say, 'Hey, I really like your music.' We personally feel in our hearts God has given us these opportunities."
Sanders' mother, Marlene, and fellow area bands Days of Old and Still Waiting have helped To The Sky in its efforts to spread a Christian message. Mrs. Sanders shelters and feeds the band and donates her car so To The Sky can attend its shows.
"I find joy when I get to display my faith in my music when I see other bands doing the same things. God is blessing them too," Sanders said. "We're not the only band that's being blessed in the community. We're not the only band that's striving to be a role model in the community."
The band's fans can visit facebook.com/totheskymusic to download its independently released album, which dropped in October. Three songs from that record will be featured on the soon-to-be-recorded album.