1970 was the era of hippies, long hair, drugs, rock-n-roll and anti-war protests – all reactions of a young generation searching for meaning beyond the conventional culture of the day. In the midst of such upheaval an amazing number of young people began giving their lives to follow Jesus Christ in what came to be known as the “Jesus People Movement” – with the epicenter being southern California. It was there and then that three high school boys decided to serve God with their musical talents and formed The Children of the Light.
Living in the southern California beach town of Torrance, Randy Boldt, Dave Stanley and Steve Steffy, with their acoustic guitars and stand-up bass, began to sing anywhere they could. Nearly as plentiful as the Starbucks of today, Christian "coffeehouses" began to spring up all over southern California and were in search of musical talent that would come and sing to their gatherings of youth. Before long, these three teen-aged boys, hardly old enough to drive, began to travel all over the L.A. area singing for churches, schools, youth groups, camps, outreaches and even restaurants. Popularity, money and status were never a factor in their motivation – they simply sought every opportunity where they could share Jesus with their listeners.
All through their high school years the boys traveled and played, giving their testimonies of how Jesus had touched their lives. At times they performed as many as 25 concerts in a single month, with audiences ranging from a dozen to several hundred. Over time their music began to take on greater depth, being reflected in their lyrics, harmony arrangements and versatile instrumentation.
Other transitions began to take place as well. Now out of school, the realities of job life and financial responsibilities posed new challenges to the group. The addition of Doug Morgan and later Greg Fraser as fourth members of the group respectively also served to bring a new complexity. Three boys and their guitars had a part-time music group – now it was four men and a trailer full of equipment considering full-time ministry.
For much of 1974-75 the group struggled with these issues and yet they continued, working jobs on the side to augment their income. However, 1976 opened a new chapter for the group – most notably through their newfound relationship with Jerry Melrose and Barry McGuire. With Jerry's help in booking concerts the group was able to take their ministry to a new level...and to new geography. Performing nationally with Barry at a number of venues including Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm in Southern California, adding Bobby Chance on drums to complete the group, beginning to tour widely – the confluence of all these events served to bring the band to a new place of faith and commitment in ministry.
The crowning moment of "success" for the guys happened when they became the first band to record for Sparrow Records. This gave them a greater legitimacy within ministry circles, but more importantly, multiplied the spread of their songs and sound that God had used to touch so many over the years. The Children of the Light continued for the next year to do regional and national tours until finally deciding to bring things to a close. They had outlasted nearly every Christian music group that started with the Jesus People Movement and now as married men with children, and callings of God to do new things, the group disbanded in the summer of 1978.