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Jars of Clay comes to campus for tour

It is not every day that Eastern gets to host a well-known band, let alone a tour, but that very thing happened on April 17 when The Shelter Tour came to campus. Headlining the tour was Jars of Clay, a Christian band based out of Nashville, Tenn. Artists Matt Maher, Audrey Assad and Derek Webb played as well, resulting in a concert that was almost four hours long.

The concert began just after 7:30 p.m. with Assad playing on a keyboard. Her soprano voice floated over the crowd as she sang songs from her first album, “The House You’re Building,” released in July 2010. A relatively new face on the block, Assad joined The Shelter Tour and was glad to get the chance to play at Eastern.

“Schools of this size are perfect for us since we’re able to fill up a room with a couple hundred people,” Assad said.

Assad started playing when she was 19, but it was not until she was 25 that she officially moved into the music business. “I didn’t have a game plan,” she said. “My advice would be to be careful who you trust with your money or who makes your music (i.e. producers). Go slow and get a second opinion.”

Following Assad on stage was Maher, who kept the audience involved by inviting them to sing and clap along, moving from the microphone and guitar to piano effortlessly. A nice slow part of his routine was when Assad came back on stage to sing a duet with him entitled “Gardens.”

Maher once ran a full-time ministry from his home church in Mesa, Ariz., but six years ago, turned to  music. He has been touring since then and has worked with several well-known Christian artists.

Maher’s advice to those looking to get into the business? “Have fun. If you’re meant to do it as a career, those doors will naturally open themselves.”

On this particular tour, Maher noted that Eastern was a spot of interest. “There is a certain amount of prestige with this school, considering the people who went here,” he said. “Also, the campus is gorgeous.”Webb followed Maher in the concert lineup, performing with only a microphone and an acoustic guitar. A self-proclaimed “folk artist,” he stayed true to his musical roots and played a selection of acoustic ballads.

He finished his performance with three songs from his latest CD, “Feedback,” a purely instrumental work that translates the verses of the Lord’s Prayer to music. At approximately 9 p.m., Jars of Clay came on stage and started a whirlwind performance of the new and old, pulling songs from their various eleven CDs including “Flood,” the 1995 hit that propelled the group into the record business.

The band was formed in 1993 at Greenville College in Illinois. Founding members Dan Haseltine (lead vocals), Charlie Lowell (piano/keyboard) and Stephen Mason (guitar) enrolled at the school as music majors and wrote songs for recording classes, several of which ended up on their first CD.A year later, the three of them sent a demo to a contest held by the Gospel Music Association. They won the contest and soon, according to Haseltine, a “seven-record-company bidding war” began for their band.

To those looking to get into the business themselves, Haseltine had this to say: “It’s important to… do what you can where you are. Write songs that are honest. Enjoy where you are.”

The Shelter Tour offers something different for the band as it is geared towards the release of Jars of Clay’s latest CD, “The Shelter.” According to the CD’s jacket cover, “These songs are meant to celebrate and inspire small communities of people to care for one another and embody the live, peace and hope promised by God and found in the life of Jesus.”

Eastern was chosen to host the tour because it shares this very same commitment. “When choosing places for this tour, we wanted to pick places where people have a thoughtful engagement with faith,” Haseltine said.During the concert, this community aspect was shown when Jars of Clay pulled Assad, Maher and Webb onto the stage and performed alongside them. Even the encore song, “I’ll Fly Away,” had a sense of rejoicing with it, and it was obvious that the bands were having a blast playing together.

“It was a lot of fun,” senior Jen Kane said. “There were a lot of Eastern students, but there were students from local high schools too.”Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham also enjoyed the concert. “It was fabulous,” she said. “I liked their mix of their old songs with their new songs. It was a concert for all ages.””I thought we had a great turn-out,” said Paul Daigle, Coordinator for Student Activities. “The artists were great, the lights were great. It was great.”

Sources: Starpulse.com, audreyassad.com and mattmahermusic.comHeadlining the tour was Jars of Clay, a Christian band based out of Nashville, Tenn. Artists Matt Maher, Audrey Assad and Derek Webb played as well, resulting in a concert that was almost four hours long.

The concert began just after 7:30 p.m. with Assad playing on a keyboard. Her soprano voice floated over the crowd as she sang songs from her first album, “The House You’re Building,” released in July 2010. A relatively new face on the block, Assad joined The Shelter Tour and was glad to get the chance to play at Eastern.

“Schools of this size are perfect for us since we’re able to fill up a room with a couple hundred people,” Assad said.

Assad started playing when she was 19, but it was not until she was 25 that she officially moved into the music business. “I didn’t have a game plan,” she said. “My advice would be to be careful who you trust with your money or who makes your music (i.e. producers). Go slow and get a second opinion.”Following Assad on stage was Maher, who kept the audience involved by inviting them to sing and clap along, moving from the microphone and guitar to piano effortlessly. A nice slow part of his routine was when Assad came back on stage to sing a duet with him entitled “Gardens.”

Maher once ran a full-time ministry from his home church in Mesa, Ariz., but six years ago, turned to music. He has been touring since then and has worked with several well-known Christian artists.

Maher’s advice to those looking to get into the business? “Have fun. If you’re meant to do it as a career, those doors will naturally open themselves.”On this particular tour, Maher noted that Eastern was a spot of interest. “There is a certain amount of prestige with this school, considering the people who went here,” he said. “Also, the campus is gorgeous.”

Webb followed Maher in the concert lineup, performing with only a microphone and an acoustic guitar. A self-proclaimed “folk artist,” he stayed true to his musical roots and played a selection of acoustic ballads. He finished his performance with three songs from his latest CD, “Feedback,” a purely instrumental work that translates the verses of the Lord’s Prayer to music.

At approximately 9 p.m., Jars of Clay came on stage and started a whirlwind performance of the new and old, pulling songs from their various eleven CDs including “Flood,” the 1995 hit that propelled the group into the record business.The band was formed in 1993 at Greenville College in Illinois. Founding members Dan Haseltine (lead vocals), Charlie Lowell (piano/keyboard) and Stephen Mason (guitar) enrolled at the school as music majors and wrote songs for recording classes, several of which ended up on their first CD.

A year later, the three of them sent a demo to a contest held by the Gospel Music Association. They won the contest and soon, according to Haseltine, a “seven-record-company bidding war” began for their band.

To those looking to get into the business themselves, Haseltine had this to say: “It’s important to… do what you can where you are. Write songs that are honest. Enjoy where you are.”

The Shelter Tour offers something different for the band as it is geared towards the release of Jars of Clay’s latest CD, “The Shelter.” According to the CD’s jacket cover, “These songs are meant to celebrate and inspire small communities of people to care for one another and embody the live, peace and hope promised by God and found in the life of Jesus.”

Eastern was chosen to host the tour because it shares this very same commitment. “When choosing places for this tour, we wanted to pick places where people have a thoughtful engagement with faith,” Haseltine said.During the concert, this community aspect was shown when Jars of Clay pulled Assad, Maher and Webb onto the stage and performed alongside them. Even the encore song, “I’ll Fly Away,” had a sense of rejoicing with it, and it was obvious that the bands were having a blast playing together.”It was a lot of fun,” senior Jen Kane said. “There were a lot of Eastern students, but there were students from local high schools too.”

Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham also enjoyed the concert. “It was fabulous,” she said. “I liked their mix of their old songs with their new songs. It was a concert for all ages.”

“I thought we had a great turn-out,” said Paul Daigle, Coordinator for Student Activities. “The artists were great, the lights were great. It was great.”

Sources: Starpulse.com, audreyassad.com and mattmahermusic.com

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