Casting Crowns performs, lead worship at Expo Center

Cold rain did not stop fans from pouring into the Bell County Expo Center on
Nov. 20 to see the Grammy Award winning band Casting Crowns, featuring artist Matt Redman.

As the concert began, a sea of hands were lifted high in worship. They have sold 4.5 million albums in the past six years. The band has also received an American Music Award, 23 Dove Awards and eight chart-topping radio singles. Their new album Until the Whole World Hears was released on Nov. 17.

Lead singer and song writer for the band, Mark Hall, said he was excited about the show in Belton.

“Our concerts are very interactive,” he said. “We also tell our audience the stories behind the songs and display the words on the screen so everyone

Casting Crowns performs a concert at the Bell County Expo Center on Nov. 20. Many UMHB students attended as a part of Preview Weekend. Photo by Mary Beth Kelton

Casting Crowns performs a concert at the Bell County Expo Center on Nov. 20. Many UMHB students attended as a part of Preview Weekend. Photo by Mary Beth Kelton

can sing.”

Freshman computer graphics design major Stephen Webster was enjoying the concert.

“The show was amazing,” he said. “I’ve seen great worship experiences, and this was one of them.”

Junior elementary education major Rebecca Widmer said her favorite song the band performed was “Voice of Truth.”

“I had never really soaked in what the song really meant,” she said. “(It) made me realize that God is always there for me, and He is always faithful and loving.”

On Feb. 5, Casting Crowns performed at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

They played their mega-hit songs for the U.S. president and the former British prime minister, along with more than 3,000 attendees, including dignitaries from more than 180 nations.

“It was really cool,” Hall said. “We got to meet Obama and Tony Blair. What made it special was that we had an unofficial worship service, and it was neat to see who in government was a Christ follower.”

In 2006, the band won a Grammy for Best Pop/Contemporary Album for Lifesong.

They also received Grammy nominations in 2008 and 2009.

“It was pretty cool to win,” Hall said. “We won four years ago, and going to the awards show was kind of like taking a trip to Mars. It was a chance
to be around artists that we normally wouldn’t be. I also got a chance to share Jesus in interviews with non-Christian news stations.”

The band recently returned to the United States after traveling in North Korea.

“We saw much emotional pain there,” Hall said. “Upon returning, we saw the turmoil at home with the economy change. There is so much hurt in the lives of families and churches. Our song ‘If We Ever Needed You’ is a desperation prayer.”

Aside from touring, Hall is also the student pastor at Eagles Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga. Several members of the band also play during the contemporary worship service at the church.

Hall said he works with youth and knows what how to discuss issues in today’s society with young college adults.

“The biggest challenge for students today is freedom,” he said. “Freedom is something every student longs for when they are in middle school and high school, and when they get it, 60-70 percent don’t know how to handle it.”

Hall hopes listeners are encouraged by the message behind the music.

“Any time we have a concert, we are certain to address three things with the audience,” he said. “One, God is always pursuing you and he loves you. Two, we have to have our own walk with God. Three, you have gifts and are not part of the audience but part of the body to reach out to the world.”

Author: Mary Beth Kelton

I am a senior at UMHB and loving it! I am the features editor for The Bells and I also intern at the Temple Chamber of Commerce. I transferred to UMHB fall 2008 and God has done so many amazing things with my life. I am excited to graduate in May but more excited about the next two semesters and the memories that I will gain. I plan to continue my education by obtaining a masters degree in sociology after graduation unless I am somehow blessed with a job.

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