A JAMIN’ GOOD TIME
It was a bargain! All seats were ten dollars paid at the door - first come, first serve - and you got to see eight different groups perform. It was called “Winter Jam” held at JPJ Arena in Charlottesville, VA on February 20th and the place was packed with young and old alike.
Kicking off the event was Revive - an energetic Australian group followed by a young seventeen year old solo artist named Robert Pierre who recently released his second album.
Sidewalk Prophets were well received by the crowd and concluded their set with their hit single “The Words I Would Say.”
I have to be honest Fireflight made me take flight. Their hard rock sound was cranked so loud the walls were vibrating. But they had plenty of admirers in the audience – different strokes for different folks, right?
NewSong sang with tight harmonies and passion. Lead singer Russ Lee issued a challenge as he shared about a man who had no money to put in the offering plate so he stood in it and declared that he was giving himself to the Lord. NewSong’s CD “Give Yourself Away” was made available to concert goers for whatever they could afford to pay. Included in the CD was a second CD for the purchaser to give away to someone who may need encouragement. What a unique concept! Judging by the number of people flooding the halls heading to the merchandise tables during intermission I believe many people took them up on their offer.
The Newsboys, lead by Michael Tait, formerly of dcTalk, took the stage by storm. It was non-stop entertainment with hits past and present. I found myself grinning from ear to ear at Michael’s exuberance and ability to draw the audience in. While singing “Jesus Freak” Michael held onto a harness as the platform where he was standing rose from the catwalk then he swung down and lay flat on his back without missing a beat. Crazy. But Michael got very serious as he sang a personal song called “I’ll Be” about dark times when one looks for (and receives) assurance from God.
At this point in the program, Tony Noland gave an inspirational message and urged support for Holt International – a ministry supporting orphans until they can be adopted. He even introduced us to his adopted daughter, Joy Fei Fei.
And if you were wondering how Winter Jam tickets could possibly be so cheap it’s because buckets are passed before intermission to receive donations from those who are willing and able to support the idea of making this concert affordable for everyone.
Next up was Tenth Avenue North, a local favorite since lead singer Mike Donehey grew up in nearby Fredericksburg, VA. They sang their award winning hit “By Your Side” plus two other singles from the same album “Love Is Here” and “Hold My Heart.” They also performed “Break Me Down” to mix things up. It was over all too soon for me.
Third Day was wonderful with Mac Powell on lead vocals singing several of their hits: “Sing a Song,”
“Creed,” “Call My Name.” Later he was joined at the end of the catwalk by Dawn Michelle of Fireflight for a duet performance of “Born Again” followed by an acoustic rendition of “Cry Out to Jesus” which was absolutely lovely.
Mac also had Dave Hanbury of Revive take a verse on “God of Wonders” and it was awesome to hear a full arena of voices singing along on the chorus. Mac closed out the evening with an acoustic rendition of “Angus Dei” then quietly slipped away leaving the audience singing, lost in the spirit of song and praise.
Published - The Star Exponent