Awesome FREE Christian Music Events in Indiana!

If you are here on Spin: the Blog, I can only imagine that you probably like Christian music. (What a coincidence!  So do I!)

You may or may not live in the great state of Indiana, so if you don’t happen to be a Hoosier, then I feel for you in more ways than one; particularly because you are going to miss out on some awesome FREE Christian music events coming up in August!

Here are the details:

WORLD PULSE MUSIC FESTIVAL

The City Harmonic II

The City Harmonic!!!

WORLD PULSE MUSIC FESTIVAL–Seriously, this music festival has THE BEST line-up of any free Christian music festival I’ve ever heard of, and I’ve pretty much heard it all at this point. Coming to South Bend on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 the line-up includes, check this out: Tricia Brock (formerly of Superchick! Rock What You’ve Got! I Love her!!), Jason Castro (Uh, hello? Who doesn’t like Jason Castro? I think it would be impossible NOT to like Jason Castro!), the City Harmonic (I LOVE this band to the moon and back. Seriously, you have not lived until you’ve seen the City Harmonic in concert. Trust me on this!), Natalie Grant (No, I’m not kidding. I said ‘Natalie Grant’ and ‘Free’ in the same paragraph!!), Audio Adrenaline (Again, I am not joking. I paid $50 two months ago to see Audio Adrenaline and I thought it was a deal!), and…wait for it…SWITCHFOOT! Switchfoot! Can you believe that?

Jason Castro

Jason Castro

Like I said, this is THE line-up of free line-ups and it is coming to South Bend on Saturday, August 10th, 2013!

Tricia Brock

Tricia Brock

PLEASE NOTE you do HAVE TO HAVE a ticket to get in, but like I said, the tickets are free and still available over at iTickets.com. (For more information and/or additional places to pick up tickets, visit the festival’s website at http://www.worldpulsefestival.com). Of course, you will have to pay for parking ($25) and food (a complete list of what’s available and the prices are on the festival’s website).

I would happily pay these prices for parking and food any day that I get to see the City Harmonic play a live show, but when you throw in Tricia Brock, Jason Castro, Natalie Grant, Audio Adrenaline, and SWITCHFOOT to the mix…well, you know I’m gonna be there, and you should definitely be there too! In my opinion, this is going to be THE Christian Music event of the summer in Indiana so go grab some free tickets now while there are still some left!

CHRISTIAN MUSIC DAY AT THE INDIANA STATE FAIR

I swear I know nothing about these guys.  My son, however, is an expert on them!

I swear I know nothing about these guys. My son, however, is an expert on them!

CHRISTIAN MUSIC DAY at the INDIANA STATE FAIR–Again, another free event (although you do have to pay admission to the State Fair venue. Discount admission tickets are available at all Indiana Wal-Mart stores, CVS Pharmacies, and Indiana Farm Bureau Offices for $7. Kids under 5 are free! Gate admission is only $10.) The line-up for this festival taking place on Sunday, August 11th, 2013 from 2-9 pm is Brianna Caprice (I don’t have a clue who this is, but I intend to find out!), Jason Castro (he’s a busy guy this weekend!), Love & The Outcome (I’ve seen this duo and they are AMAZING!), some band called for King & Country (don’t know why anyone, particularly my 6 year old son Alex, would want to go see these guys. HA! 🙂 and Matthew West.

Matthew West’s kind of a slacker, but the rest of the line-up is decent. 

(Of course, I’m just kidding!  Matthew West is one of if not THE BEST entertainers in all of Christian Music.  You have to go see him if you haven’t yet!)

If those names aren’t enough to get you down to the State Fair on Sunday, August 11th, then I don’t know what will. (The World’s Largest Popcorn Ball? A 4,500 square foot barn made out of glass? An outdoor ice skating rink in Indiana in August? Just a few suggestions!)

Love and the Outcome

Love and the Outcome

The website for the Indiana State Fair is http://www.in.gov/statefair

I’ll be at both of these festivals the weekend of August 10th and I hope to see you there! Should be a rockin’ time 🙂  Let’s just hope the weather is not too sweltering hot…if I have another weekend where the temps get up like they did at LifeFest when my nail polish literally melted off of my nails, I don’t know if I’ll live to tell the tale!

Yay for The City Harmonic! 2013 Juno Award Winners

One of my favorites of favorites just won their first ever Juno Award!  Big congratulations are in order for The City Harmonic!  I’ve been blessed to see these guys in concert (and meet them!) and I couldn’t be happier for them on this well-deserved accolade.  I’m so looking forward to catching them in concert in May and then again in (I believe) early August.  You can read all about it below (and keep scrolling, as I’ll post a YouTube video at the bottom of the post for your enjoyment!)

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From Press Release:

THE CITY HARMONIC GATHER FIRST-EVER JUNO AWARD FOR

I HAVE A DREAM (IT FEELS LIKE HOME)

The City Harmonic “I Have A Dream” Spring Headline Tour Features

 The Digital Age, Remedy Drive, 33 Miles, Eric Brandon

Band’s YouTube Channel Gathers Nearly 2.5 Million Views

Internationally acclaimed band, The City Harmonic, adds to its list of accolades with its widely acclaimed and first full-length album, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), garnering the band its first JUNO Award from The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) for “Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year.”  The 42nd Annual JUNO Awards, hosted by Michael Bublé, aired on Canada’s most watched television network, CTV, Sunday, April 21.

Continuing to resonate en masse as listeners instinctively join the chorus while the band’s music dynamically bounces from sparse intimacy to soaring celebration and back again, The City Harmonic is currently in the middle of its spring “I Have A Dream” headline tour.  Not as interested in finding fans as they are looking for participants in the journey, the tour is billed as an immersive worship experience.  With full production alongside the band’s already engaging live performances, the tour also includes special guest artists The Digital Age, Remedy Drive, 33 Miles and Eric Brandon.  The upcoming tour dates include:

April 25th                                     St. Louis, MO

April 26th                                     Lake Zurich, IL

April 28th                                     Cokato, MN

May 3rd                                       Pikeville, KY

May 4th                                       Lexington, NC

May 5th                                       Greenville, SC

May 10th                                     Overland Park, KS

May 11th                                     Tyler, TX

May 12th                                      Waco, TX

May 18th                                      Southfield, MI

The City Harmonic’s JUNO Award follows a Gospel Music Association (GMA) New Artist of the Year Dove Award nomination, the band’s fourth GMA Canada Covenant Award received last fall and over 2,450,000 YouTube channel views.  I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), labeled “fabulous,” “infectious,” “exciting,” “spectacular,” “worshipful,” “captivating,” “creative,” “brilliant” and more by the critics, also sparked the hit singles and videos, “Manifesto,” “Mountaintop,” “Holy (Wedding Day)” and the award winning title track. The band’s “Manifesto” has sold well over 100,000 copies, marking the only song from a new artist in 2011 to break into the top 10 of the SoundScan Top Current digital singles sales chart.

 

The City Harmonic, who wrapped a 65-city tour with Newsboys last spring, made appearances on main stages across the US in front of tens of thousands during the 2012 summer festival season, and led its first headline US tour last fall, are about “getting people in on the act—hearts pounding and feet moving.” Forming a little over two years ago, the band went from anonymity to widespread acclaim, headlining tours across North America and gathering numerous awards along the way. 

2013 Juno Award Nominees for Christian/Gospel Album of the Year

I have something totally embarrassing to admit as a precursor to this blog.

Why the heck didn’t I know Justin Bieber is Canadian?

I guess the saying “You learn something new every day” is true.

Anyways, as I was doing some research on the Juno Awards and nominees for 2013, I came upon this startling revelation about Justin Bieber.  Truth be told, I actually kind of like him more now that I know he’s Canadian.  (I like Canada, and Canadians, a lot.  It’s a long and somewhat boring story so I won’t bother you with it here.) 

I’m also way more confused than ever after reading the list of Juno Award nominees.  First, I discovered that to be nominated in most categories for a Juno, you have to actually be Canadian.  That’s kind of neat…I guess.  (Another shocker:  both Carly Rae Jepsen and Nickelback are Canadian.  In the case of Nickelback, I guess this goes to show that even a fantastic place like Canada can produce  a dud every now and again.)  I also learned that one of the nomination categories is for something called a ‘Francophone Album of the Year’, which even after Googling what that would be left me more confused than I was to begin with.  (A not so shocking fact:  Celine Dion is Canadian.  I think she was nominated in every category except for “Best Aboriginal Recording”, which leads me to more questions…what is an aboriginal recording anyway, and aren’t aboriginal people technically from Australia?  So how can they be nominated for a Juno if they aren’t Canadian?  I’m super confused.  My uncultured American-ness is showing, I guess.)

So, since I am way confused about many things related to the Juno Awards, I will stick to what I know best:  Christian/Gospel music.  With that in mind, a big huge congratulations to the nominees for Christian/Gospel Album of the Year:  Colin Bernard for ‘Hold On’, Manafest for ‘Fighter’, Newworldson for ‘Rebel Transmission’,  The City Harmonic for ‘I Have a Dream (Feels Like Home)’, and Thousand Foot Krutch for ‘The End is Where We Begin’.

Seriously , with the exception of Colin Bernard who I do not know much about, this is a tight group of nominees.  Of course, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know that The City Harmonic are my boys.  I love them!  I also am a fan of Thousand Foot Krutch and Newworldson, and just recently was introduced to the music and story of Manafest, who I’ve written about on the blog.  He’s really big both in Canada and internationally.

I seriously would not want to be the Canadians in charge of picking the winners in this category!

In case you aren’t familiar with any of these uber talented Canadians, check out the YouTube footage below and see who you think will win the Juno for this category.  (Personally, I think they are already all winners just because they are Canadian!)

(FYI–some of these videos may be from prior projects…I’m just picking my favorites, people!)

Colin Bernard:  Hold On

Manafest, “Fighter”

Newworldson, Rebel Transmission

The City Harmonic, I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home)

Thousand Foot Krutch, War of Change

The City Harmonic News!

Instagram photo of Eric Fusilier's triumphant return to the stage with The City Harmonic after beating cancer

Instagram photo of Eric Fusilier’s triumphant return to the stage with The City Harmonic after beating cancer

Yesterday was a super big day for music news!  It was both Grammy Weekend and the opening weekend for the Rock & Worship Roadshow, to name but a few things that were happening in the world of Christian Music.  Even with these two huge events happening, however, these weren’t the stories that caught my attention this morning when I looked over my social media feeds.

Nope, it was a single, inauspicious tweet and instagram photo that caught from The City Harmonic that caught my attention.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with The City Harmonic, you should be!  This band of Canadian rockers has one of if not the very best live performances around, not to mention the fact that their critically acclaimed debut release, I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home) is the bomb.

Yet, just a year ago in January of 2012 the band’s world was seemingly rocked when bassist Eric Fusilier was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia known as ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).  In a letter posted on The City Harmonic’s website on January 12th, 2012, the band wrote:  “It is with a heavy and yet hopeful heart that we ask your help in prayer. A few nights ago, our brother-in-Christ and bandmate Eric Fusilier was feeling weak and unable to move. As such, he and his wife visited the doctor and underwent a series of tests. Within a matter of hours they received a phone call urging them to hurry him to a hospital for further tests and to treat some serious concerns.  Thankfully, this is a treatable and potentially curable cancer, however it will be a challenging road ahead for Eric and Laura’s families as well as their friend and family. For now, we simply ask that you join with us in prayer for the Eric, Laura, and all those touched by him. Please pray for his health and well-being, and thank God for his courage and continued good-spirits in this difficult time.”

After a brief remission of the disease in March, the band reported that Eric had suffered a heartbreaking relapse on Easter in April of 2012.  As Eric faced additional treatments and a difficult stem cell transplant, the band wrote the following on their website:  “Yet again we are asking for your support and prayer through this difficult time, specifically for Eric’s health as well as the emotional and mental well-being of those around him and close to him. We are trusting this Easter weekend that just as Christ rose from the grave and defeated death, that we live for the God who is capable of defeating death and all of his agents, including Leukemia.”

So, you’re probably wondering about that tweet that caught my attention this morning.

It simply said, “For the first time in over a year (and since beating cancer) we were joined onstage tonight by the one and only Eric Fusilier!”

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

I’m so happy for Eric and his family and friends on his triumphant return to the stage with The City Harmonic!  Truly, these are some of the nicest guys you could ever care to meet.  Check out the band’s official video for “Mountaintop” below, which features an especially poignant appearance by Eric that was filmed in the midst of his treatments.  I think the lyrics “We’ve been to the mountaintop. We’ve seen the glory of our God.  He is here in the valley low, He’s here I feel it in my bones, Our God, here and now We are the body of our God…What happens to me now I know for sure that we’ve been changed somehow and we’ll be the glory of our King In His kingdom come” are especially meaningful considering Eric’s journey back to health, supported by his bandmates, family and friends in prayer.

 

Side Note:  I’m really looking forward to seeing Eric play with The City Harmonic when they come to South Bend for the World Pulse Festival in August!

The City Harmonic Concert Review

The City Harmonic
 

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   Utterly passionate.  Filled with zeal.  Spontaneous.  Fun.  Inspiring.  Everything I could have asked for and more.  Those are just a few of the ways I would describe The City Harmonic’s performance on the Star 88.3 Music Stage at the Three Rivers Festival on July 15th, 2012.
          I have to say, I was expecting The City Harmonic’s portion of the concert to be good.  Really good.  After all, both the EP ‘Introducing the City Harmonic’ and the full length CD ‘I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home)’ are musically stunning.  Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so:  ‘Introducing The City Harmonic’ was a top 5 download on iTunes, and  the group went on to become a best selling new artist on Billboard’s top current digital sales chart.
        Plus, there is that little YouTube sensation known as ‘Manifesto’ with well over 1.5 million hits as of today.
       I’ve learned over the years of attending concerts that it’s best to keep my expectations marginally low, that way I don’t end up bitterly disappointed if I end up at some awful reincarnation of a Milli Vanilli concert:  mildly appealing on the radio, but horrifically disastrous live and in person.
        After seeing The City Harmonic perform on Sunday, I realized that expecting them to just be “really good” was kind of an insult to how superbly talented they truly are.
     Hands down, The City Harmonic’s performance on the Star 88.3 Music Stage has been THE concert of the summer as far as I’m concerned, and I’ve seen a lot of exceptionally good concerts this summer:  David Crowder, Casting Crowns, Sanctus Real, Tenth Avenue North, Matthew West, Sidewalk Prophets, Mandisa, For King and Country, The Afters…and I think you get the general idea.  Lots of great music for me all summer long, yet there has only been one group whose performance ran away with my heart!
        If you aren’t familiar with The City Harmonic’s musical stylings, one comparison I’ve read over and over in my research is to the band Coldplay.  I like Coldplay, and I can hear the similarities between the two:  both groups are creatively brilliant musically, with a strong focus on the piano and lead singer. Personally, I prefer Elias Dummer’s voice (The City Harmonic’s lead singer) to Chris Martin’s of Coldplay.  In my opinion, Elias has a stronger, more confident sound and a rich,vibrant tone to his voice that really stands out. Performance wise, I also see some similarities between The City Harmonic and the group The Fray (‘Over My Head’, ‘You Found Me’) and between Elias Dummer and Pat Monahan of Train.
         Regardless of who The City Harmonic may sound like in mainstream music, they unquestionably stand apart from the rest of the crowd in Christian music in a really good, really wonderful way.  Their music is like a driving force for the soul: energizing, uplifting, and exhilarating, while consistently pointing all of the glory back to the One for whom they sing.
         Lyrically, their songs are not just catchy, but brilliant (and if you don’t believe me, Google the lyrics for any one of their songs!)   Some of the standout songs from The City Harmonic’s performance on Sunday, if I had to pick a few, were ‘Mountaintop’, ‘Holy (Wedding Day)’, ‘Yours’, and ‘Spark’.
         Only adding to The City Harmonic’s awesomeness is how very, very friendly and personable all of the guys in the band were.

       For fun on Monday at the suggestion of one of my readers, I gave out some awards from Sunday’s Star 88.3 Music Stage and The City Harmonic managed to snag several awards, one of those awards being “The Friendliest Band”.  The City Harmonic just barely managed to squeeze out Royal Tailor for that award.  I almost think they had an unfair advantage being Canadian and all, but those are the breaks.  Sorry, Royal Tailor!
         The deciding factor in “The Friendliest Band” award was mainly due to something I witnessed as I waited in line to go thru the VIP Meet & Greet for The City Harmonic.  I noticed two little girls standing by the fence off to the side of the stage desperately trying to get the attention of somebody, anybody, to sign an autograph for them.  It was very cute, but sad, because no one was paying a bit of attention to them.
        Elias, The City Harmonic’s lead singer, happened to walk by and no doubt he was very busy trying to get everything wrapped up from the performance and get to the Meet & Greet; yet, he saw the two little girls standing there by the fence and stopped to talk to them, take a picture and give them both autographs.  The looks on the faces of those little girls as they walked away was priceless!
         As if I wasn’t already a fan after just seeing The City Harmonic perform moments earlier, I was definitely sold at this point.  Then, a little bit later in the Meet & Greet line I asked if I could take a picture of the band for my blog and Elias nearly jumped across the table and said, “How about I take a picture of both of us?”  Either Elias is very friendly, or just likes having his picture taken.  I’m thinking he’s probably just a very friendly guy!

Elias Dummer, lead singer for The City Harmonic, and me, Beth Stauffer

         I wholeheartedly recommend you go right now and buy both of The City Harmonic’s projects, ‘Introducing The City Harmonic’ and ‘I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home)’ wherever you buy your music.  I suspect that you will react to hearing The City Harmonic’s music the same way Mark, the Pharmacist at CVS did, earlier today when I drove thru the Pick Up window listening to ‘Spark’ on the CD ‘I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home)’.  Mark said to me,  “What are you listening to?  It sounds awesome!  Is that really Christian music?  I want to get that!”
        Yes indeed to all of the above, Mark, yes indeed!
        To recap, I totally and unabashedly recommend you go see The City Harmonic wherever and whenever you get the chance.  You’ll have a chance this fall as they headline their first ever tour, the I Have A Dream Fall 2012 Tour, along with Daniel Bashta, Eric Brandon, and writer and speaker Bob Lenz.  Yep, I’m thinking it’s going to be epic!  You can get more information about the I Have A Dream Fall 2012 Tour by clicking here.
       Two more quick things, not really related to The City Harmonic but kind of related to the City Harmonic.  If you would like to see the full run down of my fun awards from the Star 88.3 Music Stage, click here.  If you would like to read a short story I wrote recently after listening to The City Harmonic’s song, ‘Yours’, click here.
        Most of all, thanks for reading!