Christian rock bands to open Big Weekend concert at Wayland

Christian bands Ten Shekel Shirt and The Normals will open for worship band MercyMe in a March 22 concert at Wayland Baptist University as part of its annual college preview event Big Weekend.

Based in New Haven, Conn., Ten Shekel Shirt is composed of songwriter and guitarist Lamont Hiebert, with Tommy Lee on bass and Austin Morrison on drums. Hiebert describes the band's lyrical style as musically influenced by Counting Crows, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Dave Matthews.

The group has a focus of worship evangelism and ministers regularly with the Youth With a Mission outreach. They perform in coffeehouses, clubs and interdenominational gatherings in an attempt to minister to post-modern seekers. The group released their first album Much on the Vertical Music label in April 2001.

The Normals' just-released A Place Where You Belong has been called one of the group's most personal albums to date. The album showcases the band's songwriting ability and draws on expertise from all five members as well as input from producer Malcolm Burn.

The band is composed of Andrew Osenga on guitar, Cason Cooley on piano, B.J. Aberle on bass, Mark Lockett on guitars and Mike Taquino on drums and percussion. Osenga is lead singer, with others providing vocals as well.

Their debut album Better Than This was released in 1998 on the Forefront Record label. They also released Coming to Life in 2000. They opened for Caedmon's Call on their Long Line of Leavers Tour in 2001 and with Waterdeep in their 2000 tour Everyone's Beautiful Tour.

Tickets to the concert are $10 and are available at Wayland's University Store or at Christian bookstores in Lubbock and Amarillo. For more information, call (800) 588--1928.