Jim “Soni” Sonefeld to speak at 7th Annual Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast

Seven years ago, Representative Huggins and I began an annual event for the community that started at my church, Riverland Hills Baptist. After rotating among other local churches , we now go back to where it all started for this year’s 7th Annual Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast.

Recently, the past few Prayer Breakfasts have been free to attend (thanks to the wonderful and continued support of our many sponsors ). This year is no exception!

This year we’ve moved to a Tuesday morning (September 25th) with light breakfast provided by Chick-fil-a at 7:30 a.m. with the program running from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. For directions to the church, click here .

Please reserve your spot by emailing Elizabeth Donehue at elizabethdonehue@gmail.com or by calling her at 843-864-9414.

Space will be limited this year due to our speaker (who also has a local connection: his brother is the Irmo Fire Chief, Mike Sonefeld. )

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Here’s a recent article about this year’s speaker who is no stranger to those in the Columbia area!
Lexington Herald Leader by Rich Copley
(August 17, 2012)

LEXINGTON, Ky. Jim Sonefeld knows all about being at the top of the pops. During the mid-1990s, he was the drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish, known by a nickname, “Soni”, and enjoyed the benefits of being a rock star: the planes, the hotels, all the comforts.

But some of the benefits were not so beneficial, particularly the endless supply of alcohol. The rock-n-roll lifestyle took its toll, particularly on his first marriage.

“In 2004, I got sober,” Sonefeld says from his South Carolina home. “The wheels were coming off, and I was coming down from the Hootie & the Blowfish mountain.”

“It changed my life and forced me to look at what’s important to me.”

The band, which formed at the University of South Carolina, has several upcoming dates. But these days, Sonefeld also is coming out from behind the drum kit and singing a different tune.

“In 2011, I felt a call to start writing and singing about my conversion and singing the word of God,” Sonefeld says.

He was encouraged to pursue Christian music by his second wife, Laura, though it was not necessarily an easy adaptation.

After all, Sonefeld is used to being onstage behind a drum kit, supplying backing vocals while Hootie frontman Darius Rucker, who now has a successful solo country career, calls the tune.

“I started thinking, I’m going to be singing about Jesus up in front of everyone,” Sonefeld says. “I was the drummer from a 1990s rock band.”

There is plenty of precedent for a journey from behind the kit to center stage, including stars like Phil Collins and Christian rocker Peter Furler, who pounded the skins for Newsboys before he became the band’s frontman and now enjoys a solo career.

Sonefeld has worked with producer Stan Lynch, a former drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who has produced another great drummer-turned-frontman, The Eagles’ Don Henley.

Sonefeld, whose first solo album was 2008’s Snowman Melting, says this about writing faith-based music: “Stan reminded me that Hootie was a rock band and not to forget that.”

“I’m a sucker for a ballad and power chorus, and that works when singing about something as big as God.”

In April he released a five-song EP, Found. While recording and music are still part of his life, Sonefeld says he isn’t necessarily interested in pursuing full-fledged Christian rock stardom. He enjoys life at home in South Carolina with his family and church life.

“I really am interested in ministry to alcoholics because I am quite familiar with alcoholic recovery,” Sonefeld says.

Thus far, he hasn’t had anyone question his motives in pursuing faith-based music, which sometimes happens to mainstream artists who come into the Christian market.

And, no, when he plays on his own, the crowds have not been Hootie-size, but that’s OK. “There is still humility in playing in front of people who have paid a few dollars to see you,” Sonefeld says. “I always see it as a gift.”