The Official Entertainment Guide of PPG Paints Arena
Atlantic 10 Championship Jumpstarts March Madness WINTER | 2017
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Winter 2017 Edition In This Issue
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Atlantic 10 Championship Gives Early Start to March Madness
PPG Paints Arena Concessions
PPG Paints Arena Seating Chart
Twenty One Pilots Tour Includes Pittsburgh Show
Winter Jam 2017 Brings Christian Stars Concert
Western PA Skater Portrays Dream Bigâ€™s Little Mermaid
Casting Crowns Comes to City with Danny Gokey, Unspoken
Calendar of Events Building Information
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Atlantic 10 Championship Gives Early Start to March Madness By: Pam Thompson
March Madness gets a head start in Pittsburgh this year when the Atlantic 10 brings its Men’s Basketball Championship to PPG Paints Arena. Hawks, Rams, Spiders and Wildcats, along with Colonials, Dukes, Explorers, Flyers, Minutemen and Patriots will gather with the likes of Bonnies and Billikens. The teams of the 14 A-10 member institutions play 13 games from March 8-12 to determine the 2017 championship team. The tournament victor wins an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The A-10 – which consistently ranks as one of the top seven basketball conferences in the nation – plans to present exciting court action, as well as a celebration of its Legends and the Pittsburgh community. Gary Desjardins, General Manager of the AEG-managed PPG Paints Arena says that the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship “is the start to March Madness.” Continued on page 4
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Bernadette V. McGlade, in her ninth year as the Atlantic 10 Commissioner says, “The 14 member institutions of the Atlantic 10 and their fan bases are excited about the opportunity to play for an A-10 title in a city of champions. Pittsburgh is an outstanding sports town that is centrally located within the conference footprint. With a first-class venue like PPG Paints Arena and a whole host of hotels, restaurants and other amenities in downtown, Atlantic 10 student-athletes, alumni and fans will be treated to an exceptional championship experience in Pittsburgh.” Founded in 1975, the league celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Known as one of the best basketball-centric conferences in the country, every member of the A-10 has played in the post season in the past five years. Its member schools span eight states and Washington, D.C. Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University is a founding member of the conference. The other members of the A-10 are: Davidson College, Dayton University, Fordham University, George Mason University, George Washington University, La Salle University, University of Massachusetts, In the past nine University of Rhode Island, University of years, the A-10 Richmond, St. Bonaventure University, Saint has sent a team Joseph’s University, Saint Louis University, and to the Sweet 16 Virginia Commonwealth University. Saint Joseph’s won the 2016 tournament. seven times. Six different teams have won the A-10 title over the past seven years. Since the 2007-08 season, 66 A-10 teams have played in the postseason, including 33 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, 24 of which came via at-large bids. Continued on page 6
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In the past nine years, the A-10 has sent a team to the Sweet 16 seven times. Each of the 14 the current members have made the postseason and the conference also has won the NIT twice during that timeframe. Jay DeFruscio, Associate Commissioner for A-10 Men’s Basketball, is ebullient about the Championship being held in Pittsburgh. He wants everyone to come out to see the games and enjoy the festivities. “We’re all geared up to get people to come out,” says DeFruscio who is the regular season and championship director. The 2017 class of A-10 Legends will be recognized on March 11. Each Legend is nominated by their respective school for significant contributions to their institution, team and college basketball. Established in 2013, this is the fifth class of Legends to be honored. Previous honorees have included Basketball Hall of Fame members, national champions, Olympians, and professional players. DeFruscio says that the Legends will be feted at a banquet before the afternoon game. At half-time, there will be a ceremony introducing and recognizing the honorees. “It’s very emotional for the inductees,” DeFruscio says. This year’s Legend from Duquesne University is No. 10, Norman Nixon, who played guard for four seasons from 1973-77. Nixon was the Outstanding Player of the first A-10 Championship in 1977, which was won by Duquesne. The 22nd overall pick in the 1977 NBA draft, Nixon was chosen by the Los Angeles Lakers Continued on page 8
The 2017 class of A-10 Legends will be recognized on March 11. Continued from page 7
who drafted him in the first round. Nixon is a two-time NBA Champion (1980 and 1982) and a four-time NBA All-Star (1981-83, and 1985). Duquesne retired Nixon’s number in 2001. Completing this year’s Legends class are: o Brandon Williams of Davidson o Arlen “Bucky” Bockhorn of Dayton o Darryl Brown of Fordham A-10 o Erik Herring of George Mason Legends o Bob Tallent of George Washington Day is very o Kenny Durrett (posthumously honored) of La Salle emotional o Jim McCoy of Massachusetts for the o Tommy Garrick of Rhode Island o Greg Beckwith of Richmond inductees. o Pat Carroll of Saint Joseph’s o Roland Gray of Saint Louis o Jim Baron of St. Bonaventure, and o Bernard Hopkins of VCU. Continued on page 11
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THIS YEAR, THE A-10 CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE WON IN THE CITY OF CHAMPIONS
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In addition to Legends Day, the A-10 thanks the Pittsburgh community for hosting the 2017 championship on March 8, Community Appreciation Night. “It’s a way of saying, ‘Hey, we really appreciate what you do,’ and of showing our appreciation to Pittsburgh,” says DeFruscio. The A-10, in conjunction with PPG Paints Arena, will make 3,000 donated tickets available to first responders, community organizations and nonMarch 8 - Community profits. Seating is general admission. For Appreciation Night additional ticket information, contact Mike Contact Mike Vest at Vest at firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com. School Day will be March 9. DeFruscio says that schools may purchase group March 9 - School Day reduced-price general admission tickets Contact the Group Sales at for elementary and middle school 412-804-7904 students. The ticket offer includes meal March 12 - Championship vouchers, presentations on issues such Sunday as, citizenry, health and fitness, and the afternoon game. The first 4,000 students Tournament tickets are also will receive A-10 Championship available at Dick’s Sporting T-shirts. Any school, as well as home school Goods Box Office at PPG students are eligible to participate. For Paints Arena, Ticketmaster. information or tickets contact the Group com, and Ticketmaster ChargeSales department at 412-804-7904. By-Phone at 1-800-745-3000. For Championship Sunday, March 12, DeFruscio says that special ticket prices are available for those serving in the military. Tournament tickets are available at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office at PPG Paints Arena, Ticketmaster.com, and Ticketmaster Charge-By-Phone at 1-800-745-3000. MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover are accepted. Members of the A-10 basketball staff came to Pittsburgh for the 85th City Game in December and were treated to Duquesne’s 64-55 upset of the University of Pittsburgh. DeFruscio says that the delegation toured PPG Paints Arena in the morning and attended the game that evening to get a sense of how the tournament will present in the arena. The Dukes coach, Jim Ferry says, “A-10 is going to get to show Pittsburgh what a great league it is and the city of Pittsburgh is going to get to show the Atlantic 10 what a great sports town it is.” According to Ferry, it’s the depth of the league that makes it great. “Every night is a battle from the top to the bottom of the league,” says Ferry, who also cites the “maturity” of the A-10 teams, saying, “We have men competing, fighting for their lives and careers.” Continued on page 12
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In addition to the Duquesne campus being in the same neighborhood as PPG Paints Arena, the A-10 has plenty of ties to the Pittsburgh region. Commissioner McGlade’s sister is Agnus Berenato. Head coach of women’s basketball at Pitt from 2003-2013, Berenato holds the distinction of being the university’s winningest coach in that sport. DeFruscio, a Pennsylvania native, served as Athletic Director and men’s head basketball coach at Wheeling Jesuit University, in nearby Wheeling, W.Va., for nearly 20 years (1987-2007). DeFruscio says that he became even more familiar with Pittsburgh when two of his four children attended Point Park University in the city. Dayton’s head coach, Archie Miller, is a native of Beaver Falls, Pa., and he is part of a renowned basketball family. Archie and his older brother, Sean, played for Blackhawk High School, where they were coached by their father, John. Before accepting the head coach spot at Dayton, Archie was an assistant to Sean, who is head coach at the University of Arizona. Last fall, Miller’s team was picked to finish at the top of the A-10 2016-17 season by their peers. The Dayton coach says, “It’s a humbling deal anytime you’re in pre-season predictions at the top. I have a lot of respect for the coaches and the players in the league.” “Pittsburgh is an unbelievable city,” says Miller. “It’s been really welcoming to the A-10. They are going to do an excellent job with the championship. So I think just in terms of the product and the stage that we’re going to be on, it’s going to be great.” Mark Schmidt, head coach of St. Bonaventure is familiar with Pittsburgh. He coached Robert Morrris University from 2001 to 2007 before he moved to his current post. In addition, four of the student-athletes playing in this year’s tournament hail from the Tri-State area. Peyton Aldridge of Leavittsburg, Ohio, plays for Davidson, and three members of Duquesne’s team have roots locally, David Haus of Pittsburgh, Zach Snyder of Cranberry Twp., and Caleb Davis of New Kensington. The tournament logo, designed by the Pittsburgh Penguins’ in-house creative design team, heralds the tournament. It features the black and gold Continued on page 14
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colors representative of the city’s sports scene, as well as a stylized bridge typical of so many that span the Three Rivers. These Steel City trademarks appear over a basketball and the A-10 registered trademark logo. The 2017 championship logo symbolizes the A-10’s partnership with PPG Paints Arena and the City of Pittsburgh, according to McGlade. She says, “The representation of the bridges combined with the conference logo captures the essence of Atlantic 10 basketball in Pittsburgh.” The league announced in September 2014 that it had signed a one-year agreement to bring the men’s championship to Pittsburgh’s arena as part of an effort to move the premier MARCH 8-12, 2017 • PITTSBURGH, PA event around the footprint of the conference. Pittsburgh previously hosted the A-10 championship in the former Civic/ Atlantic10 Atlantic10.com Mellon Arena for five years,A10MBB from 1978-1982. Tickets available at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office at CONSOL Energy Center, PPG Paints Arena with seating Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.for 19,100 basketball fans, opened in 2010 CONSOLENERGYCENTER.COM and hosts regular season men’s basketball, including the annual City Game between Duquesne and Pitt. Home of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, PPG Paints Arena also hosted the 2012 and 2015 NCAA Second and Third Rounds. Jennifer Hawkins, Executive Director of SportsPITTSBURGH states: “We are honored that the Atlantic 10 Conference chose our beautiful city to host this year’s Men’s basketball tournament. Our partners at PPG Paints Arena and Duquesne Athletics are working hard to ensure that this year’s tournament exceeds the highest expectations of the conference staff, A-10 is going to get to players, coaches and fans. It will give show Pittsburgh what our city another opportunity to shine, a great league it is and under the national spotlight, and show why Pittsburgh is a major sports event the city of Pittsburgh is destination. The fans will be pleased going to get to show the to discover the many activities and Atlantic 10 what a great attractions that are only in Pittsburgh. sports town it is. “Hosting major events like the A10 Men’s Basketball Tournament lead to significant economic impact. Events, such as this, also provide additional benefits to our businesses and communities through volunteer opportunities and fun activities designed to raise awareness of the event and sport. We look forward to welcoming the A-10 staff, players and fans to our iconic sports city and look forward to crowning the next champion in March.” CONSOLENERGYCENTER
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Dave Harper, Director of Athletics at Duquesne University says: “Having the A-10 tournament at PPG Paints Arena is a truly tremendous opportunity. Fans in the Pittsburgh area and beyond will have the chance to see one of the best college basketball conference tournaments in the country. Combining this quality of basketball and playing at PPG Paints Arena, a nationally recognized top venue for events like this, is a perfect combination. Pittsburgh is great city and has rabid sports fans and that will most certainly enjoy and support the tournament as postseason bids and a championship are on the line in March. We look forward to partnering with the A-10, PPG Paints Arena, and the Pittsburgh Community to make this tournament a memorable one for all involved. Desjardins says of the upcoming event, “It is an event of national significance that showcases the arena and all that Pittsburgh has to offer.” “It is an event that will have a positive impact on the city,” Desjardins says, explaining that preparing for the A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship is a team effort involving the arena, the Penguins, and VisitPITTSBURGH. “It’s a fantastic event to have in Pittsburgh and at PPG Paints Arena,” says Desjardins. “It’s in line with our overall goals,” he says, adding that he will be looking to bring more events of the A-10’s caliber to Pittsburgh’s arena. The tournament’s opening games on March 8 pit the conference’s No. 12 and No. 13 seeds against each other in Game 1 at 6 p.m., and the No. 11 and No. 14 seeds meet in Game 2 at 8:30 p.m. On March 9, Game 3 matches the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds at noon, and Game 4 between the No. 5 seed and the winner of Game 1 follows at 2:30 p.m. Game 5 at 6 p.m. has the No. 7 and No. 10 seeds meeting. Game 6 between the No. 6 seed and the winner of Game 2 follows at 8:30 p.m. The Quarterfinals on March 10 begin with the No. 1 seed and the winner of Game 3 at noon playing in Game 7. In Game 8, the No. 4 seed takes on the Game 4 winner at 2:30 p.m. Game 9 at 6 p.m. matches the No. 2 seed with the winner of Game 5. Game 10 at 8:30 p.m. has the No. 3 seed meeting the winner of Game 6. The Semifinals on March 11 open with Game 11 at 1 p.m. when the winners of Games 7 and 8 meet. Game 12 at 3:30 p.m. has the winners of Games 9 and 10 meeting. For the Championship contest on March 12, the winners of Games 11 and 12 play Game 13. The final game will be telecast. The time is to be announced. | 16 |
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UPCOMING PAINTS • Kellogg’s Gymnastics EVENTS The City Game ARENA UPCOMING EVENTS AT AT•PPG PPG PAINTS ARENA • Tour Kellogg’s Gymnastics • The City Game ARENA of Champions Harlem Globetrotters UPCOMING EVENTS AT PPG PAINTS • Kellogg’s Gymnastics • The Game Kellogg’s Gymnastics • Harlem The City CityGlobetrotters Game Orchestra of Champions • ••• Tour Musselman’s Applesauce Family Trans-Siberian Kellogg’s Gymnastics • The City Game Tour of Champions Harlem Globetrotters Tour of Champions • Harlem Globetrotters • Skating Musselman’s Applesauce Family • Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tribute with Dan+Shay Rivers Classic of Champions •• Three Harlem Globetrotters •• Tour Musselman’s Applesauce Family Trans-Siberian Orchestra Musselman’s Applesauce Family Trans-Siberian Orchestra Skating Tribute with Dan+Shay • Three Rivers Classic •• Ringling Bros.Applesauce and Casting Crowns Musselman’s Family • Trans-Siberian Orchestra Skating Tribute with Dan+Shay Three Rivers Classic Skating Tribute with Dan+Shay • Three Rivers Classic • Barnum Ringling Bros. and • Casting Crowns &Bros. Bailey Circus Basketball Tournament Tribute with Dan+Shay •• A10 Three Rivers Classic • Skating Ringling and Casting Crowns RinglingOn Bros. and Casting Crowns & Bailey Circus • A10 Basketball ••• Barnum Disney Ice Ringling andCircus •• Casting CrownsTournament Barnum Bailey A10 Tournament BarnumOn& &Bros. Bailey Circus A10 Basketball Basketball Tournament • Barnum Disney Ice & Bailey Circus • A10 Basketball Tournament ••Ticket Disney On Ice + Allows You the Opportunity to Add Concession Value to Event Ticket(s). Disney On Ice •Ticket Disney On IceYou the Opportunity to Add Concession Value to Event Ticket(s). + Allows Ticket+ Allows You You the the Opportunity Opportunity to Add Add Concession Value to Event Event Ticket(s). Ticket(s). + Allows For more information, please Value contact: Ticket to Concession to Ticket+ Allows You the Opportunity to Add Concession to Event Ticket(s). Jacob Sullivan For more information, please Value contact:
PPG Paints Arena Group Corporate Sales Department For more information, please&contact: contact: Jacob Sullivan For more information, please firstname.lastname@example.org • 412-804-7904 Jacob Sullivan PPG Paints Arena Group Corporate Sales Department For more information, please&contact: Jacob Sullivan VISIT PPGPAINTSARENA.COM/GROUPSALES PPG Paints Arena Group Group & & Corporate Corporate Sales Department Department email@example.com • 412-804-7904 PPG Paints Arena Sales Jacob Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org • 412-804-7904 412-804-7904 VISITPaints PPGPAINTSARENA.COM/GROUPSALES email@example.com • PPG Arena Group & Corporate Sales Department VISIT PPGPAINTSARENA.COM/GROUPSALES PPGPAINTSARENA.COM/GROUPSALES VISIT firstname.lastname@example.org • 412-804-7904 VISIT PPGPAINTSARENA.COM/GROUPSALES
Calendar of Events College Basketball Duquesne Men’s Basketball vs.Dayton
January 14 — 12:00 PM
January 20 — 7:00 PM
Twenty One Pilots
January 27 — 7:00 PM
February 10 — 7:00 PM February 11 — 1:00 PM & 7:00 PM February 12 — 1:00 PM
March 5 — 7:00 PM
Atlantic 10 Championships
March 8 - 12 — Times to be announced
March 14 — 7:45 PM
Lionel Richie & Mariah Carey
March 21 — 7:00 PM
March 31 — 7:00 PM
Group Sales Available For more information, please contact the PPG Paints Arena Group and Corporate Sales Department | EMAIL email@example.com PHONE 412-804-7904 | www.ppgpaintsarena.com/groupsales For all upcoming PPG Paints Arena events visit www.ppgpaintsarena.com.
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PITTSBURGH PENGUINS SEASON presented by
NHL Stadium Series
Game dates, times, and opponents are subject to change. Be sure to check the starting time of every game at pittsburghpenguins.com before heading to PPG Paints Arena! Visit pittsburghpenguins.com for 2016-17 promotional schedule.
Building Information ATM Machines For the convenience of our fans, ATMs are available in the arena: KeyBank Outside section 119 and 230, and in the lobby of the Trib Total Media Gate PNC Bank on PNC Legends Level Outside of Party Suite 44 and the Lexus Club Banners and Signs Banners and signs are permitted for most events, providing they are appropriate, as deemed by building management. Cameras Cameras are permitted into the arena for Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games and most events. If allowed, building policy states only small personal still cameras equipped with three (3) inch lens or smaller be brought into the building. Cameras with detachable lenses or flashes are not permitted. Video, audio and professional camera and recording devices are strictly prohibited in the building. For all other non-hockey events, camera policies will vary. Please check the individual event page for further information. Video Cameras Use of video or audio recording equipment is strictly prohibited. The arena reserves the right to confiscate any tape or film and remove the patron from the building.
Designated Drivers Guests of legal drinking age who hold a valid driverâ€™s license and wish to sign up to be a designated driver, may visit Guest Services at section 104 for specific Designated Driver booth locations during Pittsburgh Penguins games. In return for safe and sober transportation of their group from the arena, the designated driver will receive a coupon redeemable for a complimentary soft drink during the game. Emergency Evacuation In the event of an emergency, the arena staff will utilize the public address (PA) system to inform guests of the situation and any instructions as applicable. All exits and emergency exits are posted with appropriate signage. First Aid There are two (2) First Aid Stations presented by UPMC, one on each level of the arena. First Aid is located adjacent to the Guest Services office outside section 104 and behind the concession stand at section 232. Lost and Found If an item is lost or found during an event please see the Guest Services office located outside section 104. Guests inquiring about lost items after an event should call 412.804.7903. Items lost at events are held in storage for thirty (30) days and then either disposed of or donated to an appropriate charity. Continued on page 23
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Building Information Continued from page 21
Prohibited Items Bags, back packs, air horns, coolers (hard/soft sided), thermoses, large purses, cans, bottles, flasks, alcoholic beverages, laser pointers, video or audio recording devices, professional cameras/lens, tripods, banners or signs on poles, weapons or any other items deemed dangerous and/or inappropriate are strictly prohibited. Small purses, camera cases, binocular cases and diaper bags will be permitted, however, all items that do not pass security must be returned to vehicles. Questions For general questions, please call 412.642.1800. Re-Entry Policy Exit and re-entry is not permitted at the arena. Security In the interest of guests and staff safety, a search process is required for all events in order to prevent guests from bringing unauthorized and prohibited items into the arena.
Smoking Policy Smoking is not permitted inside the arena. TAG-A-KID In the event a parent and child might be separated at an arena event, parents can register their child with the Tag-A-Kid program. A wristband with the parentâ€™s seat location and contact number will be given to the child. Registration is available at the Guest Services office located outside section 104. Wheelchairs A limited number of wheelchairs are available for transporting guests that are disabled to their seating location. Guests can be transported from the gates to their seats. If a wheelchair is needed for the duration of the event, guests must supply their own wheelchairs. Wheelchairs cannot be reserved in advance. Upon arrival, guests can arrange for a wheelchair at any entrance of the arena. Please see an arena employee to assist with wheelchair transportation.
Have a Question or Concern During an Event?
Text GOAL TO 69050 Followed by your location and Issue
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Beef Brisket, Chicken & Pulled Pork Sandwiches Sections: 115, 205
Sections: 103, 107, 113, 212 ®
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COORS LIGHT IGLOO CLUB
Hotdogs Sections: 101, 107, 109, 111, 116, 121, 212, 218, 223, 225, 231, 232
BURGATORY Burgers, Fries, Milkshakes Section: 206
NAKAMA Sushi - Sections: 101, 105; 111 Hibachi by Nakama: 232
DAIRY QUEEN Dilly Bar, Buster Bar, Stars & Stripes Starkiss Sections: 105, 234
DUNKIN’ DONUTS Specialty Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Teas and Donuts Sections: 109, 118, 212
PRIMANTI BROS. Sandwiches Section: 119
RITA’S Italian Ice Section: 109
I.C. LIGHT ICEBOX Section: 204
LABATT BLUE ZONE
MEAT & POTATOES
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JIM BEAM RACKHOUSE
Sandwiches Section: 107
NORTH COUNTRY BREWING
THE YARD Section: 120
KREA’S Section: 116 eat authentic greek
Menu items subject to change.
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PENNSYLVANIA’S FINEST BEERS
SEC 106 Enjoy Beer Made Here! Some of Pennsylvania’s finest beers are now available at the new Turnpike Tavern, located behind Section 106.
Twenty One Pilots Tour Includes Pittsburgh Show By: Pam Thompson
Twenty One Pilots – the duo gaining popularity through its sold-out concerts, industry accolades and music that defies classification – performs at PPG Paints Arena this winter as part of the final U.S. leg of its highly successful “EMØTIØNAL RØADSHØW” tour. 2016 was a stellar year for Twenty One “Stressed Out” Pilots – drummer Josh Dun and vocalist/bassist received the Tyler Joseph. 2016 iHeartRadio Nine of Twenty One Pilots’ 11 January 2017 concerts already had sold out by last November. Music Award for Packed venues continue a trend for the Alternative Rock duo that began with their 2015 sold-out Song of the Year. BLURRYFACE TOUR. The trend continued through the first leg of the “EMØTIØNAL RØADSHØW” tour when all 48 North American tour dates sold out. Twenty One Pilots earned two American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/ Rock Band/Duo/Group and Favorite Alternative Rock Artist in November, following up on their MTV Europe Award for Best Live Act. In concerts, the duo creates a party experience full of interaction with their audiences who are treated to theatrics, stunts and special effects, as well as Twenty One Pilots’ diverse musical styles. The band’s eclectic music, often called rock or alternative, also has been described as “crossover,” “fusion” and “unorthodox.” Elements of rap, hip hop, reggae and pop, as well as rock and alternative genres blend in their songs. Continued on page 30
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Dun’s impassioned percussion and Joseph’s singing, rapping and screaming create performances that are energetic, poetic and emotional. Joseph was the No. 1 songwriter in the first quarter of 2016. His “Stressed Out,” became the first song by a single writer to top the pop charts in nearly two years. “Stressed Out” received the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Award for Alternative Rock Song of the Year and enjoyed success across genres, reaching No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and topping the Contemporary hit radio Top 40, Hot AC, and Alternative charts. In addition, Twenty One Pilots won iHeartRadio’s Award for Alternative Rock Artist of the Year. Last May, Twenty One Pilots also won two Billboard Music Awards for Top Rock Artist and Top Rock Album for BLURRYFACE, as well as nominations for Top Duo/Group and Top Rock Song for “Blurryface.” In addition, the duo was nominated for Billboard’s Breakthrough Touring Award. Twenty One Pilots released its first live album last fall, a vinyl-only LP, Blurryface Live. Dun and Joseph performed “Heathens” at the American Music Awards in November, and in October, they performed renditions of “Heathens” and
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Twenty One Pilots performances are energetic, poetic and emotional.
“Ride” on Saturday Night Live. With these two songs, the duo was the first alternative group in history to have two Top 10 hits at the same time. They released a cover of “Cancer,” a ballad by My Chemical Romance, in September. The epic “EMØTIØNAL RØADSHØW” kicked off last May in the Ohio natives’ home state. Twenty One Pilots will have looped three continents more than once and played 17 nations by the time its tour concludes in April. Continued on page 32
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The duo’s string of sell-outs includes two-night stands at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Boston’s Agganis Arena, and Berkeley, Calif.’s Greek Theatre. Last fall took Twenty One Pilots to Mexico and Europe – including Russia where the concert in Moscow was brought to an abrupt end due to a bomb threat. Returning to North America in 2017, the band plays winter concerts in the U.S. before heading down under again for seven more performances in Australia and New Zealand in March and April. Twenty One Pilots was founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 2009, by Joseph, Nick Thomas and Chris Salih. In 2011, Dun joined Joseph shortly after Thomas and Salih left the band to pursue other options. The band’s eclectic The musicians have produced four music, often called studio albums, a live album, six extended rock or alternative, plays, 13 singles and 20 music videos. also has been BLURRYFACE, released in May 2015, is described as certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Seven of its “crossover,” tracks made the U.S. Rock Chart that same “fusion” and year: “Heavydirtysoul,” “Polarize,” “The “unorthodox.” Judge,” “Doubt,” “Message Man,” “Goner” and “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV.” The album’s RIAA gold certified single, “Tear in My Heart” made its debut on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 at No. 1 with total sales exceeding 147,000. The album gave the duo an international breakthrough, reaching the top 5 in Canada, as well as the top 20 in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. BLURRYFACE was preceded by Twenty One Pilots’ 2013 Fueled By Ramen debut album, VESSEL, which is certified gold by the RIAA and claims three gold certified hit singles in “Holding on to You,” “Car Radio” and “House of Gold.” In 2016, Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens,” the first single released from Suicide Squad: The Album, earned certified double platinum status. It followed the success of the duo’s other platinum certified singles including three from 2015, “Ride” certified double platinum, “Stressed Out” certified four-times platinum, and “Tear in My Heart,” as well as “Car Radio” in 2014. “Ride” from BLURRYFACE spent six consecutive weeks at the top of charts at Modern Rock radio outlets nationwide. It was the band’s second No.1 single in that format last year, following “Stressed Out,” which spent three months at No. 1 at Modern Rock. Twenty One Pilots headliner tours include the Mostly November Tour in 2012, the Trip for Concerts Tour in 2013, and the Quiet Is Violent World Tour in 2014. The band has performed on “Conan,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and the 2014 MTV Movie Awards. | 32 |
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Winter Jam 2017 Brings Christian Stars Concert By: Pam Thompson
Winter Jam Tour Spectacular 2017 plays PPG Paints Arena, bringing a lineup of Christian music artists to Pittsburgh.
The 10 top Christian artists showcased in this year’s tour are: o Crowder o Britt Nicole o Tenth Avenue North o Andy Mineo o Colton Dixon
o Thousand Foot Krutch o NewSong o OBB o Sarah Reeves, and o Steven Malcolm.
Special appearance from Sadie Robertson.
The tour also includes an appearance from “Duck Dynasty” television star Sadie Robertson, as well as a message from author, speaker and evangelist Tony Nolan. Winter Jam 2017, which offers $10 general admission tickets at the door, visits 46 cities through early April. Eddie Carswell, Winter Jam creator and NewSong founding member, says, “I’m so excited to hit the road with all these amazing artists for 46 nights of fantastic music and lifechanging ministry. As we look ahead to 2017, our prayer is simply that God will continue to bless this tour and use it for His glory.” Continued on page 36
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Crowder’s “Come As You Are” was nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song. Winter Jam has grown from a single show in 1995 to the world’s No. 1 first quarter tour for four consecutive years, according to Pollstar Crowder, the singer/songwriter released his second solo studio album, American Prodigal, in September. It was preceded by the lively, rousing lead single, “Run Devil Run,” in June. American Prodigal peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and like Crowder’s debut album, Neon Steeple, it topped the U.S. Christian Albums Chart. Neon Steeple, released in May 2014, preceded the tour of the same name. It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. It’s lead single, “I Am,” released in November 2015, went to No. 3 on the Billboard Christian Songs chart. Its single, “Come As You Are” was nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song. Britt Nicole, a Grammy nominee and gold-certified recording artist, released her fourth studio album on the Sparrow label, Britt Nicole, in October. It peaked at 100 on the Billboard 200. The singles from her 2007 album, Say It, included “You,” the 12th most-played song on Christian Radio that year. Her second album, The Lost Get Found, made its debut in 2009 at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Christian Albums chart and No. 62 on the Billboard 200. Two songs Continued on page 38
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Tenth Avenue North Continued from page 36
from the album, “The Lost Get Found” and “Walk on the Water” went to No. 1 on Christian radio. Gold, her third album released in 2012, entered the Hot Christian Albums chart at No. 1 and went to No. 41 on the Billboard 200. Its title single appeared on Billboard’s Hot 100, Pop Songs and Christian Songs charts. Tenth Avenue North has sold more than one million albums. Its new album, Followers, released in October, follows the band’s four previous studio albums, Over and Underneath (2008), The Light Meets the Dark (2010), The Struggle (2012), and Cathedrals (2014). Band members are Mike Donehey, lead vocals and guitar, Jeff Owen, guitar and vocals, Brendon Shirley, keyboard and vocals, Ruben Juarez, bass and vocals, and Jason Jamison, drums. Continued on page 41
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Donehey says of Followers, “God’s not as interested in the success of our career as He is the posture of our hearts. The whole theme of the record comes from believing that God’s will for my life isn’t a plan, and it’s not necessarily a dream. God’s plan for my life is the position of my heart.” The group’s hit, “By Your Side” was the Gospel Music Association’s 2010 Song of the Year, and the band was named the Gospel Music Association’s New Artist of the Year in 2009. New York native Andy Mineo is a hip hop recording artist known for his reflective lyricism. His sophomore album, Uncomfortable, became the No. 1 independent record in the country with No. 3 and No.10 positions on Billboard’s Hip Hop and Top 200 album charts, respectively. Mineo headlined the 52-city Uncomfortable Tour, which sold out venues across America and Europe. He has appeared on Sirius XM’s Sway in The Morning and MTV. His hit, “You Can’t Stop Me” won an ESPN Whammy Award for MLB’s Top Walk Up Song. Mineo, who scripts, produces and directs many of his own music videos, also created Mineo also created a 3-season webseries on YouTube called “Saturday Morning “Saturday Morning Car-Tunez.” The series has Car-Tunez,” a garnered more than one million views and gives webseries on fans a glimpse into Mineo’s creative process YouTube. and personal life. His social media audience exceeds 1.3 million. Colton Dixon set a record for biggest first-week sales by a new solo Christian act with his 2013 debut album, A Messenger. It went to the top of the Gospel and Christian charts and No. 15 on the Billboard 200. It became the No. 1 selling album by a new Christian artist and the No. 9 best-selling album in the Christian genre overall. A Messenger also became the No. 22 best-selling album across all genres that same year, when Dixon finished seventh on Season 11 of “American Idol.” Nominated four times for Dove Awards, Dixon won Best Contemporary/ Rock Album in 2013 for A Messenger and in 2015 for Anchor, his second album. Anchor, released in 2014, went to No. 23 on the Billboard 200, and No. 1 on the Christian chart. Continued on page 43
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His third album, The Calm Before the Storm, released in 2015 went to No. 44 on the Christian chart.
Dixon says, “I have a strong passion for my generation, to motivate them to keep the torch lit.” Of his music, he says, “My hope is that at the end of it all, you feel closer to God than you did when you first pressed ‘play.’” Thousand Foot Krutch released its newest album, Exhale, in 2016, as well as the singles “Incomplete” and “Running with Giants,” and “Born Again” in 2015. Exhale charted at No. 34 on the Billboard 200, following 2014’s album, Oxygen: Inhale, at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, and 2012’s The End Is Where We Begin, at No. 14. All three albums topped the Christian chart and all were in the top 10 on the Rock chart. The Canadian band has released 10 albums since 1995’s Shutterbug. Their music has posted on Christian, Rock and Alternative charts. Lead vocalist, Trevor McNevan with bassist Joel Bruyere and drummer Steve Augustine specifically crafted Exhale as a recording that could be duplicated in live concerts. McNevan says, “During the making of Exhale, we spent more time on certain elements to make sure we can capture that accurately since live shows are such a big part of who we are.” NewSong, founder and host of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, has a career spanning more than 30 years. Its achievements include 20 albums, 20 No. 1 Christian radio singles, a No. 1 mainstream AC hit, a Grammy Award nomination and induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, among numerous other achievements. Continued on page 45
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NewSong is the founder and host of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular. Continued from page 43
Its work includes the songs “Arise, My Love,” “Rescue,” “The Same God,” and the holiday favorite, “The Christmas Shoes.” Carswell says of Newsong’s success, “I attribute that to God having His hand on us and helping us in spite of ourselves. We’ve tried to be faithful to our mission – to tell people about our relationship with Christ – since the beginning. I remember thinking, even before we started NewSong, that it’d be great to have a group of real guys that you could relate to, get up on stage, hold an audience’s attention with great music and then share how to come to know Christ. Even though we love the music, the ministry part of what we do is the main focus.” OBB – brothers Zach, Jacob and Nich Oswald – released its first studio album, Bright Side, in 2014, and the brothers are working on their second fulllength album due out in early spring. “I believe we serve a fun God, and I’m not afraid to stand on stage and jump around and run and raise my hands and give everything I have to worshipping God,” says Jacob. Continued on page 47
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Sarah Reeves’ debut album is Tony Nolan scheduled for this spring preaches “My inner artist has been battling that “life is with stereotypical artist expectations for years,” Reeves says. “I now know short...” who I am and am confident in who God created me to be. This musical direction is not typical, it’s not safe it’s a new sound stirring in my heart and mind.” Steven Malcolm brings Christ to the culture of Hip Hop. Since 2011, he has performed alongside artists like Lecrae, KB, Andy Mineo, Da T.R.U.T.H., This’I, Swoope, Json, Canton Jones, and many more. Motivational speaker Sadie Robertson, the 19-year-old star of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” and runner up on ABC’ Dancing With the Stars Season 19, advocates for her generation. Her 16-city Live Original Tour in 2016, spread her message of positivity and self-confidence to her peers. Tony Nolan, a nationally recognized evangelist, preaches that “life is short, and everyone needs to be prepared for eternity.” He has served as tour-pastor and evangelist for the Casting Crowns Lifesong Tour and Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, and preached at major events across North America.
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Western PA Skater Portrays Dream Big’s Little Mermaid By: Pam Thompson
When Disney On Ice presents Dream Big at PPG Paints Arena this winter, one of the featured princesses will be portrayed by Western Pennsylvania native, Ryan Elizabeth Coombs of Warren, Pa. Coombs, cast as Ariel from the tale of “The Little Mermaid,” is appearing in her 8th Disney on Ice production. “I’ve always loved being out there performing,” says Coombs adding that skating in Pittsburgh is special for her. “That’s when my family and friends are coming to the show and actually get to see me perform,” she says. The tour, which began in October and runs into June, will do eight shows in Pittsburgh, Feb. 23-26. Disney On Ice presents Dream Big uses artistic skating, acrobatics and inspiring costumes, sets and lighting to enact the empowering stories of eight Disney princesses and the sisters of “Frozen.” Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Snow White and Tiana – plus the sisters, Anna and Elsa from “Frozen” pursue adventure and their dreams to the delight of audiences. “There’s something for the entire family – acrobats, a fire-breathing dragon, traditional Disney stories and Goofy and Mickey – not just the princesses,” says Coombs. Continued on page 50
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The “Frozen” segment is the favorite of audiences, according to Coombs. “The audience goes crazy every time they come out onto the ice,” she says. Producer Kenneth Feld says, “Being able to include these new and exciting characters from the Academy Award®-winning tale, ‘Frozen,’ keeps our shows current and ever evolving.” “The Little Mermaid” always has been Coombs’ favorite Disney story. “It’s not just because I play her. Growing up I watched that movie a thousand times,” Coombs explains. Sharing her favorite part of her role, Coombs says, “For me it’s the sailors number with Prince Eric and a team of acrobats. It’s really high energy and a lot of fun to watch.” Feld says, “Before dreaming up this show, we reflected on what makes Disney’s leading ladies so unique. Having three daughters, it didn’t take long Continued on page 53
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to realize that every princess had one thing in common. Each one had a dream and the determination to make it a reality. “We wanted to share that inspirational message with our audiences by celebrating the stories of these courageous young women and the friends that helped them along the way.” Tinker Bell guides audience members into magical places where anything can happen. The stories of Rapunzel, Cinderella and Belle show that everyone has the power to make their own magic. Snow White, Aurora and Tiana remind audiences that strength and kindness are complementary characteristics. Jasmine and Ariel each discover new worlds, and Anna, Elsa and their friend Olaf learn that true love is the greatest magic of all. Director Patty Vincent says of Disney on Ice presents Dream Big, “My favorite part of this entire experience was actually piecing it together from my original dream. Starting with a blank piece of paper then gathering ideas, finding music, working out the choreography and costumes – I really loved creating it from scratch.” “One of the most perfect moments for me was when I found the song, ‘If You Can Dream’ on the Disney Wishes album,” says Vincent. “It just embodies the wishful and inspirational tone of the show. There’s nothing like seeing ideas that start with your imagination become something real. It’s an incredible There’s something experience.” Vincent’s favorite part of the show for the entire family demonstrates how the creative process – acrobats, a firecame together. breathing dragon... “I love the ‘Under the Sea’ production number because I was able to combine bubbling special effects with the most fantastic costumes and high-energy skating. The scene is even more fun than I imagined it would be,” she says. Creative Director Jerry Bilik says that he assembled a cast that would make the stories relatable and inspiring. “To me, the most exciting part of the show is really the cast,” Bilik says. “These exceptional performers help translate the stories to the ice magnificently. Their portrayal of the princesses and princes sweeps the audience away because they capture the essence of the characters’ hopes, dreams and heroism.” Continued on page 54 | 53 |
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Costume Designer Ilona Somogyi says that her work was inspired by the original film versions of the stories, as well as little girls who come to shows dressed as their favorite Disney princesses. She also took some inspiration from more unusual sources. “For the Cinderella ball, Fabergé eggs were the basis for the full flowing waltz gowns,” she says. Choreographer Cindy Stuart crafted numbers to highlight each character’s story. For example, the “Aladdin” segment opens with a busy, energetic market scene and Aladdin being chased by guards. When Jasmine meets Aladdin, the tempo changes to a dream-like escape from reality in “A Whole New World.” Set Designer Robert Little created a beautiful and surprising set to support the series of stories within the production. His main set, a multi-tiered waterfall, actually has real, flowing water. It transforms into a different scene for each story. He says, “We had this idea early on about dreams and the types of places where you’d be compelled to dream, and we hit upon the waterfall.” “Like Snow White, who wouldn’t be inspired to wish for their dreams to come true in such a beautiful, magical place in the woods?” Little adds. Little also had a part in crafting the fire-breathing dragon for the “Sleeping Beauty” segment. Disney On Ice presents Dream Big is Emmy® Award-winning Lighting Designer Peter Morse’s fifth ice show credit. His design transitions between stories creating a leafy woodland for Snow White and bursts of bright white stars for Cinderella. “When telling nine distinct stories, it’s important to be able to create a new environment to set the stage for each tale,” Morse explains. “Robert Little did this with the transformable set, and it was my mission to fill the rest of the ice with radiant lighting that would place the audience in the heart of these stories.” Continued on page 57
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Coombs says that cast members have a two-week rehearsal to prepare the show for audiences at Feld Entertainment’s new facility in Ellington, Fla. Talking about pursuing her own dream, Coombs says that her path to a career as a professional skater began as a young child. “I was sitting at home watching ice skating on TV on a winter afternoon and told my mom that that was what I wanted to do,” Coombs says. While growing up, she also tried other pursuits but always stuck with skating. “There was a chance that I wouldn’t be in this field of work. At one point, I was skating, doing gymnastics, dancing and playing softball, and there came a time when I couldn’t do it all. Thank goodness I chose to keep skating,” says While she always loved skating and competing, Coombs says that she “was not going to the Olympics.” Her coaches, Kirk Wyse and Lenel van den Berg performed in ice shows before they became her trainers, and they influenced Coombs interest in pursuing a similar career. “It seemed like a good path to explore to see if I wanted to do it as well,” she says. Coombs successfully auditioned for Disney On Ice when she graduated from high school. She says that she has traveled the world since graduating from high school. Her first professional performance in Feld Entertainment’s High School Musical: The Ice Tour was in Rio de Janeiro. Coombs says that there are so many parts of her job that she loves. “I’ve skated all of my life,” she says, adding, “It’s very rewarding to have my skating as my job.” | 57 |
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Casting Crowns Comes to City with Danny Gokey, Unspoken By: Pam Thompson
The multi-platinum, Grammy-Award-winning Casting Crowns returns to Pittsburgh with The Very Next Thing Tour in March. The concert at PPG Paints Arena will be among more than 40 shows planned for the second leg of Casting Crowns’ tour, scheduled for a February kickoff. Fans describe the show as an uplifting and renewing worship experience and say that they especially enjoy when the band comes to the front of the stage to perform. Singing along is encouraged by lyrics projected onto the stage. Casting Crowns, the top-selling Christian music act on Billboard since 2007, will be joined on tour by Danny Gokey and Unspoken. The Very Next Thing Tour supports Casting Crowns new album by the same name. The album made its debut at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, selling 28,000 units and earning Casting Crowns its sixth top 10 placement. The single, “One Step Away” gave Casting Crowns its 11th No. 1 radio single last November. Continued on page 60
Casting Crowns shows are an uplifting, renewing worship experience.
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I want to deliver a message that feeds the soul, but makes you want to move and groove to the music. - Danny Gokey
Continued from page 59
Casting Crowns surpassed 10 million career-long sales of their albums in August, a month before the September release of The Very Next Thing. Commenting on the band’s success, Terry Hemmings, President/CEO of the Provident Music Group, says, “It is a rare honor to be in a position to congratulate an artist on the milestone of selling 10 million albums in their career.” He adds, “The fact that Casting Crowns has done so, and in a relatively short period of time, clearly speaks to the power of the songs and the message this band has communicated over the last 13 years. It’s a testimony to the impact of their hard work and dedication to ministry. We are so grateful to walk alongside Casting Crowns and be part of sharing their music with the world.” Beach Street founder and Casting Crowns’ Producer Mark Miller says of the sales milestone, “What a true blessing Mark Hall and Casting Crowns have been to me.” Singing along is “It’s been a joy to have a front row seat and watch God work through them,” he adds. encouraged by The band members are Mark Hall, lead singer/ lyrics projected songwriter, Juan DeVevo and Josh Mix, guitarists, onto the stage. Melodee DeVevo, violinist, Megan Garrett, keyboardist, Chris Huffman, bassist and Brian Scoggin, drummer. Casting Crowns’ seven band members all remain active in student ministry in the Atlanta area and tour according to their local church commitments. With more than 25 years in youth ministry, Hall maintains his role as the student pastor at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in Atlanta. Continued on page 63
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Continued from page 60
He has battled cancer himself and says, “Because we have the honor of walking with people in our churches, we get to see what people are going through – the issues that are impacting everyone now. It is in these situations that ideas are born for what we all need to hear right here right now.” The group says that The Very Next Thing, the group’s 15th release and eighth studio album, “is centered on the idea that what’s next for the Lord is often what’s right next to you. This collection of songs is meant to meet listeners wherever they are at in their walk and aims to encourage acting out the next step of love.” Discussing the inspiration for The Very Next Thing, Hall says, “We are all in different stages of ‘next.’ There’s a next step from where you are right now. We all feel like there’s a stage that we have to reach to move on to what is next, but God has you right here right now for your ‘next,’ and all of these songs touch on that idea.” In the chorus of their hit single, “One Step Away,” Casting Crowns sings:
You’re one step away from surrender One step away from coming home, coming home One step from arms wide open His love has never let you go You’re not alone You’re one step away…. With more than 4.6 million fans liking Casting Crowns on Facebook, the group asked their followers to comment on their favorite song from The Very Next Thing. In just a small sampling of the more than 500 comments from fans, all 12 of the album tracks were named: o “Hallelujah” o For All You Are” o “The Very Next Thing” o Song That the Angels Can’t o “One Step Away” Sing” o “Oh My Soul” o Make Me a River” o “What If I Gave Everything” o No Other Name,” and o “God of All My Days” o Loving My Jesus.” o “When the God-man Passes By” Fans often commented on how a particular song, or the group’s music in general, relates to challenges in their lives and helps them to persevere. They say that Casting Crowns music reminds them that God is there for them, and some say that God uses the right song at a given time to help them. Hall, a youth pastor in 1999, founded Casting Crowns. The band evolved from his youth group at the First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla. Continued on page 64
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Continued from page 63
Casting Crowns sales successes include a Recording Industry Association of America 2-time Platinum album, four RIAA Platinum albums, two RIAA Platinum DVDs, seven RIAA Gold albums, four Gold DVDs, one RIAA Platinum certified single and five RIAA Gold certified digital singles. The band’s honors include four American Music Awards for Contemporary Inspirational Artist in 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2015, plus four other AMA nominations. The group has been nominated for six Grammys and won the Grammy Award in 2006 for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album for its 2005 album, Lifesong. Casting Crowns has accumulated 17 Dove Awards, including Group of the Year for five consecutive years, 2005-2009, and Artist of the Year in 2010. The band’s albums, Lifesong and The Altar and the Door, both won Dove Awards for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year. Their songs: “Who Am I,” “Praise You in This Storm” and “East to West,” are Dove Award Pop/Contemporary Songs of the Year. The group has two Billboard With more than 25 years Music Awards for Top Christian in youth ministry, Hall Album for Come to the Well and Top maintains his role as the Christian Artist from 11 total Billboard student pastor at Eagle’s Music Award nominations. Landing First Baptist No. 5 in the Billboard Music Awards 2016 ranking of Top Christian Church in Atlanta. Artists, Casting Crowns won this award in 2012 and also was in the Top 5 in 2013 and 2015. Danny Gokey plays Pittsburgh with Casting Crowns. Gokey, the third-place finisher on season 8 of “American Idol,” releases his third album, “Rise” this year. It follows his debut album, My Best Days, which produced the hit singles, “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me” and “I Will Not Say Goodbye,” and his second album, Hope in Front of Me. Gokey says of his work, “I want to deliver a message that feeds the soul, but makes you want to move and groove to the music.” Unspoken, also performing on the Casting Crowns tour, has released three albums: its debut work, Unspoken with the hits “Start a Fire,” “Lift My Life Up” and “Who Are You;” Unplugged, and Follow Through. Its members are Chad Mattson on lead vocals, Mike Gomez, guitar, Ariel Munoz, percussion, Jon Lowry, bass, guitar, keyboard and vocals, and Don Eanes, keyboard and vocals. Mattson says of the work on Follow Through, “These new songs came out of a different place from the last record. In the past, there was so much uncertainty and struggle in our lives that was reflected in our songwriting. Now we’re writing songs that are really gratitude-driven. This new record is joyful and uplifting as opposed to being born out of the grind and the struggle. We’re just grateful for where we are now, for where God has brought us on this journey.” | 64 |
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