Up and coming Christian band headlines concert

PLAINVIEW - Casting Crowns, who have captivated Christian airwaves with their No. 1 hit "If We Are the Body," will headline a concert at Wayland Baptist University on Friday, March 26.

The concert, slated for 7:30 p.m. in Harral Auditorium, will also feature Jeff Deyo, the former lead singer for Sonicflood who is now in a solo career as a writer and singer of modern worship music.

Based in Atlanta, Casting Crowns released its self-titled debut album in September 2003 and quickly became the fastest-selling new artist in 2003. As of the end of February 2004, the album was in its seventh week on the Neilson's Top Christian Album chart. The band also held the No. 1 position on both Radio and Records and Christian Radio Weekly's contemporary hit radio and adult contemporary radio formats.

The band was also recently honored with four Dove Award nominations by the Gospel Music Association for New Artist of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year for "If We Are The Body" and Song of the Year for writer and lead singer Mark Hall.

The group is lead by Hall, a youth minister who formed the group in Daytona, Fla. while serving a church there a few years back. When Hall's family moved to Atlanta, Ga. to take a church position there, the group moved with him and grew. Two independent CDs were released mostly in the Atlanta area and were well received, but the band didn't feel it was God's will at the time to begin soliciting record labels.

But God had a plan already working. A student in Daytona became acquainted with a familiar music face, Mark Miller, lead singer of Sawyer Brown, and put the Casting Crowns CD in his hand. Miller, yearning to do a project with friends Terry Hemmings of Provident Records and another talented musician, Steven Curtis Chapman, approached the pair and shared the music.

The result was a new imprint under Provident called Beach Street Records and the flagship artist for the new label would be Casting Crowns. Miller and Chapman produced the debut album in 2003 and singles from the project continue to captivate listeners across the country.

After several years as lead vocalist, songwriter and co-producer for Sonicflood, Deyo launched his debut solo album, titled "Saturate," in 2002, later earning a Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year. His single "More Love, More Power," reached No. 1 on Christian pop radio charts.

Considered a modern worship pioneer, Deyo continues to lead worship at conferences and concerts around the world, including YC2004, Canada's largest youth conference with an expected attendance of 16,000 students.

Tickets to the concert are $10 each, available at the Wayland bookstore, in Lubbock at Mardel and Family Christian Stores, and in Amarillo at Lifeway and Family stores.

The concert is being held in conjunction with Wayland's Big Weekend, the annual college preview event planned for March 26-27 for high school juniors, seniors and college transfers. For $20, participants get a taste of college life by staying in dorms, visiting classes, meeting current students and faculty and getting information about Wayland. The cost includes a concert ticket and meals for the weekend. For more information, call the Office of Admissions at 291-3500.