Angelo and Veronica are a husband and wife contemporary Christian duo that have commenced their recording careers in 1992, with the album, Higher Place, and it was released on September 8, 1992 by A&M Records. This album was coincidently their breakthrough release upon the Billboard magazine Christian Albums chart, and it placed at No. 35. The duo released nine albums with five labels, and two of those albums charted on the Billboard magazine Christian Albums chart.
Now the couple have taken another step of faith by starting their own church, Higher Place Church. We are honored to chat with Veronica Petrucci for this exclusive interview:
Hallels: Not too long ago, you and your husband were called to be worship directors of a church, but it didn't work out. What happened there?
All I can really say is that we were somewhere were God did not want us to be. It tore my heart out to leave our home in Franklin, TN. I remember one day walking our neighborhood and hearing from the Lord that we were to stay and start a church. Angelo and I had probably one of the biggest fights we ever had over this move. Yes, we fight! This is probably one of the reasons we have stayed married 23 years! A Pastor friend even warned Angelo about the move. And right before Angelo got in the moving truck to leave, He began to vomit uncontrollably. I don't know how he was able to drive over 1000 miles being so sick. So there were many signs and many red flags. So it was our disobedience and our fault that things did not work out. We take responsibility for that. We regret having hurt anyone by leaving so suddenly without being able to give any explanation.
Hallels: What happened after that? How did you end up starting Higher Place Church?
Well, we could not return to our home in Franklin, TN because it was being rented for a year. So we ended up squeezing in at my parents home in Florida. Who better to impose on than close family..lol! Not very long after we arrived, desperately seeking answers from God, we began doing something we had never done before. Angelo, I and our two children starting praying together every night. One night, as we stood together holding hands, the Lord spoke to me. I looked over at Angelo and the Lord said, "this is your Pastor" and as I looked over at our children He said, "these are your church members. This is your church"! So it was out of the sun room at the back of my parents home where Higher Place Church was birthed. Then a month or so after we started praying together, out of the blue, I received a phone call to be in a movie. The role was to play..can you guess? A Pastor's wife! And then a couple months after that, we were bestowed with Honorary Doctorates!
Hallels: Have you two been church planters before?
Hallels: Tell us more about Higher Place Church. Why did you call it Higher Place Church?
Well, even years before this experience God had been nudging us to start a church. But it seemed so inconceivable to us both. We never had a desire to Pastor or even be in ministry! I remember when we first began singing in church after our first album, "Higher Place". Everywhere we went people would say, "you all not only sing, you minister". We weren't even sure what that meant at the time! But it was clear God was calling us to something beyond just singing.
You have to understand, we did not grow up or learn how to sing in church. We were trained in the world and what became the most important thing to us was to be skilled in music. We both attended Berklee College of Music and also studied music and voice privately for many years. Neither one of us desired fame as much as we desired to be great at what we did. However, inadvertently we were being sucked into the trapping of the music industry. It took years for God to completely unveil the seduction and deception of that ungodly industry to us. Always somehow caught between wanting to do our music but also serve God. And realizing it was more important to us to serve the Lord.
So God began plucking us out of that world and began raising us up to be ministers instead. In the same way, there are those who have been raised up in the church but the enemy has trained them up to be entertainers! I think one of the differences between ministry and entertainment is truth and authenticity. Whereas entertainment is really but an illusion. And there is way too much compromise in the industry of music. I don't know of another industry so driven by lies and deception. It is truly a realm ruled by Satan. It was not worth it to sell our souls to have "success" in it.
As I have stepped into this calling, I feel there has been an oppression lifted off of me. An oppressive spirit that was not allowing me to speak certain things concerning the truth. Now I truly feel free to speak the truth of God's word. As long as we've been in music, secular or Gospel, there is this unspoken rule to keep silent about certain things. But I no longer feel that way, and I won't keep silent anymore. People need truth to make them free. So unless you speak up, they will stay in bondage. This is the responsibility we feel as ministers and now even more as Pastors.
The church is actually named after our very first Angelo & Veronica album! Angelo actually thought of it and I thought it was very appropriate. We have come full circle. The industry that attempted to destroy us actually was used to catapult us to where we needed to be! And this is what we also want for others. There are so many stories like ours in Nashville, TN. We desire to see lives restored after the devastation of broken dreams.
As I share in my testimony, lies are what nearly brought my life to the brink of destruction. But it was truth that resurrected life back into me. Lies bring devastation but truth bring restoration!
Hallels: What are your roles right now in the church?
We are founders and lead Pastors..
Hallels: What advice do you have for any of our readers also thinking of starting a church?
Obey God's call. Don't do it because you are getting hired or paid to do it. John 10:12-13 says a hireling or a hired man will flee when he sees the wolf coming to attack the sheep because the hireling does not care about the sheep. Our job is not only to feed the sheep but protect the sheep from wolves in sheep's clothing.
Hallels: Musically, are you in the process of recording any new music?
Yes, God is always giving me songs so we continue to record them. Angelo's production is just getting better and better. He recently got endorsed by Pre Sonus Studio One. Also, we are releasing an Angelo & Veronica Christmas single this year to raise funds for the church. We want to release an Angelo & Veronica EP probably in 2016.
Hallels: How then do you balance church work now with your music?
They seem to go together since music and ministry has become inseparable for us. I want to create some songs specifically for our church that will teach certain scriptures that need to ingrained..with a funky beat of course.
Hallels: For our readers who would lik to check out your church or your music, where can they go?
Higher Place meets in our home in Franklin, TN Wed night at 7:30pm CST or they can watch the LIVE broadcast via Periscope. For more info on Higher Place Church: http://angeloandveronica.com/index.php?page=40