Casting Crowns Brings Joy & Praise To Bryce Jordan Center Ahead Of Easter
Grammy-winning Christian rock band Casting Crowns brought joy and praise to the BJC with guests Ben Fuller and We Are Messengers on Good Friday.
Casting Crowns was started in 1999 by youth minister Mark Hall, who is also the lead vocalist of the group. Beginning as a student worship band in Daytona Beach, Florida, Casting Crowns was unexpectedly discovered by Mark Miller, the lead singer of country group Sawyer Brown, and he subsequently signed Casting Crowns onto the newly created label Beach Street Records.
Before Casting Crowns took the stage, Ben Fuller uplifted the crowd with his song “But the Cross” to begin the night of worship and music that filled the BJC. Fuller, who grew up in Southern Vermont on a dairy farm, struggled with drugs and alcohol throughout his life. In 2017, he lost his best friend to a heroin overdose. The tragic event changed Fuller’s outlook on life.
Sharing his testimony with the audience at the BJC, he told everyone his story, which included being on the brink of committing suicide to then how he came to write Christian music. Fuller then performed “Wide Awake” and “Only By The Grace of God.” The heartfelt set, lasting about a half hour, was closed out with “Who I Am.”
We Are Messengers took the stage next, led by Ireland-born Darren Mulligan. The set started with “Wholehearted” and “Point to You” as the people in the crowd lifted their arms and pointed to the sky during the chorus. After singing “Love,” Mulligan continued the momentum with “Image of God,” encouraging the audience to sing back lyrics from the chorus.
Then, Mulligan got the crowd smiling and swaying with “Come What May” and spoke with the crowd about his hometown in Ireland before singing “Hills of Tyrone.” Mulligan prompted hundreds in the BJC to wave back and forth for the next song, “Holding On,” and the crowd lit up the space with flashlights. We Are Messengers closed out with “God You Are,” “Maybe It’s Ok,” and “Power.”
After intermission, Casting Crowns and lead singer Mark Hall arrived onstage and set the crowd on fire with “Start Right Here,” “One Step Away,” and “Healer.” The group continued with “Only Jesus,” singing the lyrics, “I don’t want to leave a legacy, I don’t care if they remember me, only Jesus,” and upbeat “Desert Road.”
The next song, “Scars in Heaven,” was about loss and grief, but also hope, and it touched hearts all throughout the crowd. “Praise You In This Storm,” was played next, followed by “Just Be Held.” Hall invited the audience to sing along to the chorus.
Hall, along with Melodee DeVevo, who plays violin and is a vocalist for the band, and Megan Garrett, who is also a vocalist, slowed things down with a cappella piece “Gentle Healer,” which carried rich harmonies and introduced a more intimate feel to the space. There was a scripture reading in honor of Good Friday and the singing of the hymn “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,” sung by the vocalists and the audience together.
Things picked up afterward with “Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me),” and Hall told the story of how Casting Crowns came to be, from writing songs as a youth group to being discovered by Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown.
Hall soon introduced the individual members of Casting Crowns, including vocalist Megan Garrett, vocalist and violinist Melodee DeVevo, guitar player Juan DeVevo, lead guitarist Josh Mix, drummer Jack Williams, and Hall’s son, John Michael Hall on bass.
After telling the origin story and getting the audience more familiar with the group, Casting Crowns continued its set with “If We Are the Body,” “Voice of Truth,” and “East to West.”
Casting Crowns closed out the night with playful “Crazy People,” and got the people in the audience to put their hands together for “Nobody (feat. Matthew West). The final song, “Who Am I,” had the audience members waving their flashlights, lighting up the space, which was blooming with voices raised in praise from all over Pennsylvania.
Casting Crowns left the stage after Hall and the band wished everyone a blessed Easter. Smiles adorned the faces of the concertgoers as they departed from the BJC into the cool April evening, accompanied by a lighthearted, fizzing joy in the air in anticipation of the weekend’s Easter festivities.
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