‘Rock the Park’ features several of CCM’s best groups
By James Beasley
In recent years, Chautauqua Park in Crystal Springs has become the venue for some of Contemporary Christian Music’s best known groups. This year is no exception. On Saturday, September 29, Big Daddy Weave, one of the top 10 most played artists in Christian radio over the past decade, will be featured here along with Ashes Remain, Aaron Shust, and Shaken. Gates will open at 4:30 PM with the show scheduled to get underway at 5:30.Big Daddy Weave is composed of Mike Weaver on lead vocals and guitar, Jay Weaver on bass and vocals, Jeremy Redmon on guitar and vocals, Joe Shirk on keyboards and saxophone, and Jeff Jones on drums. They started the group over 10 years ago while students at the University of Mobile. They stepped into the national spotlight in 2002 with the release of their second album, “One and Only.” Since then, they’ve been honored at ASCAP’s Christian Music Awards and were chosen for WOW Hits compilations in 5 of the last 6 years.
Their appearance here will be part of “The Redeemed Tour” to 22 cities and will feature the lead single, “Redeemed,” from their newest album.
“I think this tour is appropriately named for sure,” Mike Weaver said recently. “I’ve been blown away by how people have been responding to this song. It really resonates with what God has been doing in my life personally and with what we’ve been seeing God accomplish night after night on the road with Big Daddy. I think when we’re willing to share our own personal hurts and brokenness, God brings down some walls in others who may have previously been afraid to bring those kinds of things into the light. I know this firsthand, and thank God there’s freedom beyond our baggage.
“We’re so excited to take this idea across our country with Aaron Shust,” Weaver continued. We’ve toured together before. I continue to be a huge fan, and he’s a great friend of ours. I’m really looking forward to what God has in store.”
“Being out with Big Daddy Weave has been has been a highlight for us in our touring experience,” Shust responded, “and we look forward to it again. The bond is true, and I know that our hearts are one when I say that we want nothing more than to join with everyone in attendance by lifting up the name of our Redeemer in worship. It’s going to be a great night!”
Also on the program is a group called Ashes Remain that was begun by lead vocalist Josh Smith and guitarist and keyboardist Ryan Nalepa. The two met one summer at a youth camp near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During that time, they felt God calling them to serve Him together. They committed to pray together each day asking God if He wanted them to form a band.
Several months later, Smith was back in Florida when he received a phone call from a church in Maryland inviting him to lead worship fulltime. It was only 10 minutes away from where Nalepa lived. Over the next several years, God added guitarist Rob Tahan, bass player Jonathan Hively, and drummer Ben Kirk to the group, and Ashes Remain was born. They signed with INO Records nearly two years ago and produced their debut album, “What I’ve Become,” soon afterwards.
“It’s something we take very seriously,” Kirk says. “We can’t be off our game, so to speak, just because we’re busy or have something else on our mind. We feel called to be available to our fans. Connecting with a kid who was one conversation away from attempting suicide has a way of reminding you that you never know what that person’s going through that night.”
“We were built for this,” Smith says. “This is our place in what God is doing in this world.”
Tickets are available in advance by phoning 800-965-9324 or at ITickets.com. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more. For additional information, you may call 601-718-7946.