Christian rock to take the stage in Wapakoneta

Christian rock is taking the stage next week at the Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center.

The concert, which features three bands, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Sept. 22, at the Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center. A portion of the proceeds are to go toward Fellowship for Christian Athletes (FCA).

Opening the show is local band, WiFive, followed by Slawdog, of Lancaster, and then the featured act, Messenger.

“We are excited about this show,” said Pam Egbert, of ProDuctions, of Wapakoneta.

She is working with Access Talent to bring in the show, which was requested by Wapakoneta High School students.

She said working at the Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center meant working around high school students, who loved to provide ideas

about what kind of performances they would like to see.

“A few of them were way out of our budget,” Egbert said laughing, but the request for a Christian rock band concert came about earlier this spring and with the help of Access Entertainment Group was one they could make happen.

“One of the things that Access Entertainment Group is known for is their giving to the community they are hosting a show in,” Egbert said. “When we did the Elvis show last fall we had over 500 pounds of food donated to God’s Storehouse. We were so excited about the way we could help the local residents in need.

“When Access Entertainment Group said they wanted to do a Christian rock concert I was asked about who could be helped with the show,” she said. “The Fellowship for Christians Athletes came to mind and I contacted (Wapakoneta City Schools Operations Director) Mike Watt and (Fellowship for Christian Athletes adviser) Bill Sammons and both were happy with the choice. The Fellowship for Christian Athletes is a strong club in the Wapakoneta City Schools and it is nice to give part of the ticket sales to this group of students.”  

In addition, Egbert said they are looking forward to these three bands and the shows they will provide to local residents.

Jim Bruce, of Access Entertainment Group, of Columbus, described the talent in the shows as phenomenal.

Messenger, which began in 1994, formed from a call of the spirit on its founding member and began by providing contemporary worship music to churches as the desire for that emerging style of worship grew. They have now ministered through music for nearly two decades.

The band’s current sound remains relevant to what today’s younger generation listens to, allowing the band to make real and lasting connections with this demographic, according to its biography.

Messenger released its first CD, “Let Him In,” in 1998, and received international airplay and a top-50 ranking on Christian charts with the song, “I Can Do Nothing.”

Through the next few years, the group was rebuilt and they began writing and ministering with new and old material before releasing a sophomore project, “Crossing Over,” in 2007. After receiving great support from radio and fans who enjoyed the guitar-driven, biblically sound, rock music, the band is preparing for its third CD release this fall. They also have a worship CD project underway.

Band members include Crystal Gibbons with lead vocals, Jason Lambert on the guitar and vocals, Greg Vella playing lead guitar, Chad Lehner on bass, and Jeff Trent on drums.

They said it has been the goal and desire of Messenger since its inception to present the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that is entertaining, but more importantly the truth of who God is and what he is capable of doing in a life that is yielded to him.

They said although their style of delivery may sometimes change, the gospel itself never does and they are determined to keep sharing it through music.

Messenger’s members said they want to help people believe that Christian music has a higher purpose and that its goal is not mediocrity, but excellence, which requires more from the group.

Members of Messenger have shared the stage with many well-known artists, including, Fireflight, Superchick, The Letter Black, 7th Time Down, Petra, Switchfoot, 4HIM, KJ-52, Sevenglory, and Nikki Leonti.

Band members said they want those who attend their concerts to be able to have a personal, transforming encounter with God. The group wants to encourage and challenge believers to live Godly lives and to provide spiritual growth.

Slawdog has performed all over the eastern United States, beginning in 2005 with the mission of “rockin’ the area with the message of Jesus Christ,” while playing some great originals and covers inspired by the classic rock music they grew up with.

Praise and worship favorites like “Lord, I Lift Your Name On High” and “Nothing But The Blood” are mixed in with classic rock favorites including “Takin’ Care of Business” and “Simple Man,” along with some high energy originals.  They are working on a CD scheduled for a late 2012 release.  

Performing in Slawdog are Mike Lamneck on vocals, guitar, harmonica, and synthesizer; Duane Williams on lead guitar and vocals; Dwayne Tackett on bass; and Dan “Boonie” Wykle on drums.

The rock band WiFive comes from west-central Ohio and brings a lot of talent to the stage as well as some of the best music around, Egbert said.

The band’s five musicians have been in the music business for more years than they would like to admit and bring a lot to the stage, she said. They all sing vocals in shows, play instruments in their own style and care about the music they are producing and the shows they bring their fans.

Dave Maurer, of Botkins, was formerly with Token Tribe.  When the band decided to part ways he didn’t want to quit performing on stage, something he loved so much.  His fellow bassist, David Clark, also wanted to keep playing and performing, so they set out to fill in the rest of the band, but it took them a while to find band members with like ideas and music choices.

Fred Wells moved to the front of the stage as the lead singer for WiFive. Playing lead guitar is Keith Freistahler. Kristin Vaubel, a vocal and piano teacher in Botkins, was the last addition to the list of musicians in the band as a keyboardist.

Described as being well put together and with a great on-stage chemistry, Egbert said WiFive reminds her of the old band, Backseat Driver.

“The harmonies are fantastic and the addition of the keyboard, as well as the female vocalist, just brings out every song they do,” Egbert said. “The stage show for this band is one to be seen and will lead them to the top of the booking wars.”