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Collaboration concert centers on worship

Christian bands A Current Affair and Esterlyn held a free concert/worship service in Ground Zero. Although this performance was open to all students, only a small portion of the student body showed up to experience what turned out to be an amazing evening, March 5.

I saw A Current Affair perform at a local church several years ago, but by now, lead singer Jordan Feliz is the only band member who still remains from the time. As such, I was not really familiar with their current music before this evening; however, after hearing their well-executed set list, I have definitely become a fan.

A Current Affair?s music used to have more metal qualities — something that I did not personally appreciate, but over the years they have toned things down and fallen into a Christian alternative/rock category.

The band opened with “Hear It Now,” one of their more popular numbers. Feliz?s voice was powerful without seeming over-exerted. His passion for music was evident through his performance and my favorite moments of each piece were when he effortlessly transitioned into his impressive falsetto.

Lead electric guitarist and ’10 FC alumnus Tyler Duerr brought much talent to the group. His solos showcased his talent and served as encouragement to those aspiring to pursue their musical dreams. I remember when Duerr was playing on the Ground Zero stage as part of the high school worship team, so although I do not know him personally, it was fun to see someone I am acquainted with, succeed in their decision to follow a musical path.

Bassist Andrew Kauffman and drummer Josh Redd made a vital contribution by keeping the beat consistent, which helped keep the music moving smoothly. These instruments are very important to any performance, as they are the backbone of each piece.

My favorite song by A Current Affair was “The Search.” I feel fortunate to have attended this concert, since Feliz announced that, since the song is older, they would be retiring it after playing it one last time. In addition to enjoying the musicality of this slower number, I found the lyrics to be meaningful and relatable.

The audience seemed to enjoy themselves, as they vigorously clapped to the beat, head banged, and waved their cell phones in the air.

The transition into Esterlyn?s performance was met with excitement; I was not entirely sure what to expect, but I was looking forward to experiencing what I assumed would be a very talented group, as their original song “Freedom is Here” made it to the number six spot on Air 1 Radio. They used this song as their opener.

The band is comprised of four members: lead singer Luke Caldwell, guitarist Tommy Torez, bassist Shawn Myers and drummer Ryan Tomlinson.

From the moment Caldwell began to sing, I was absolutely struck, not only by his incredible voice, but also by his humility while performing and his genuine desire to help those in the audience enter into God?s presence. He said, “The reason why we come here isn?t so you think we?re cool, or to promote ourselves. God has genuinely put it into our hearts to show His love and not just be people who play music and hang out.” This was just the beginning of an inspiring conversation Caldwell had with those fortunate enough to have attended.

Part way through the performance, Caldwell explained the origin of their band?s name and spoke powerfully to the audience about making themselves available to being used by God. “Esterlyn,” originally the name of Caldwell?s niece, was adopted by his sister from China. When she was eight days old, her biological family abandoned her; fortunately she was found and placed in an orphanage, until she was adopted by Caldwell?s sister.

When Esterlyn was three years old, she told her mom that she had a baby sister named Bella waiting for them to adopt her in China. The pair prayed together that evening and three months later, Esterlyn?s mother found a little girl named Bella, from China, on an adoption site. She inquired about this little girl and after sharing her amazing story with the agency, discovered that two families were already interested in adopting her.

Two weeks later, the agency called back, saying that both families had decided to move in different directions and Esterlyn?s parents were given first notice of this in case they were still interested in Bella. This story was definitely inspiring; it showed how God can work miraculously through anyone to make his presence and purpose known, regardless of the age of those he uses.

Caldwell brought up a passage in James 1 which states that pure and undefiled religion is caring for widows and orphans and keeping ourselves pure from the world. He challenged us to use our lives to show love to those who need it; to open our eyes and help people receive God?s unconditional love and stop focusing on ourselves.

Caldwell commented on the extreme self-centeredness that is advocated in our world, saying, “I don?t want to be like that because that?s not how God was. It?s not how Jesus was. If Jesus Christ is your king, it means you follow him and his example. He laid down his life for others. Shouldn?t we do the same? That?s true Christianity. It?s God?s heart for people. May we go out and show his love to those around us. That?s what little Esterlyn has taught me.”

In addition to playing some of their original songs, including “Everyday Your Love is New,” which debuted at this performance, Esterlyn interspersed well-known worship songs such as “Hosanna,” “How He Loves,” and “Beautiful Things,” during which the audience was able to sing along. These moments were especially meaningful to me, as they enabled me to enter into my favorite state of worship: singing. I was truly touched by Esterlyn?s presence, and I very much hope to see them again.

Near the end of the performance, Caldwell felt called to set aside about ten minutes to reach out to those who may be hurting around us. Torez, Myers and Tomlinson came down into the audience to enter into a time of prayer with anyone wishing to receive encouragement, repent of past mistakes or accept Christ.

The overall quality of Esterlyn?s performance, based not only on their remarkable musical abilities, but also on their complete desire to be used by God according to His will was very inspiring. I left feeling encouraged and refreshed and I very glad I had the opportunity to be led into worship by such a wonderful and talented group of people.

For more music reviews, Alesana discovers ambrosia with latest album.

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  • R

    Ryan NeufeldMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I love our team pet! Arnie is the man.

  • C

    Cooper BelmontMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I love this picture! Great paint job, TK

  • M

    Michael OgdonMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Hey, I’ve got a piranha in my office if any other team is seeking a dead mascot.

  • S

    Sheri LeeMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    That’s my car in the picture… I had the pleasure ( not! ) of seeing that thing up-close & personal. He is quite a frightening looking specimen! I guess I’ll be seeing a lot of him since he’s the new mascot for the boys varsity basketball team!

  • L

    Laura CasugaMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    OK – kinda yuck . . . maybe we could find a new treasure to carry around?