’Tis the season to be jolly, sure, but sometimes what gets lost during the holiday season is the reason why there is a holiday season. The story gets buried in the rush to buy presents, to decorate trees and houses, to attend seasonal parties and to make New Year’s resolutions.
“The Story Tour: A Christmas Celebration,” a concert featuring top Christian-music performers at the Colonial Life Arena Tuesday, will remind concertgoers of the season’s meaning. The concert stars Casting Crowns lead singer Mark Hall, Jeremy Camp, Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Nichole Nordeman, Selah and Rawsrvnt.
The multimedia concert, which includes a choir and orchestra, will feature the singers performing Christmas songs – and a condensed version of the Bible. The tour’s tagline is a musical journey from Genesis to Revelation. The production is based on “The Story,” a collaboration between authors Randy Frazee and Max Lucado, and Zondervan, a Christian book publisher.
The book, published in 2011, presents the New International Version Bible – and its characters – in 31 chapters. The live show incorporates music and video. Frazee will speak at the show. (A version of “The Story” was performed at Shandon Baptist Church in the spring.)
The first 30 minutes of the concert, Hall said, will feature the performers singing Christmas songs as sort of a warm up.
“Then we head into ‘The Story’ portion of the concert,” he said.
Videos portraying Biblical tales and a full orchestra will accompany the singers.
“You’re going to get to watch these movies and listen to the singers and watch the Bible unfold through these characters,” Hall said. “In the course of an hour, they’re going to walk through the Bible.”
Hall, a youth pastor at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in Atlanta, understands the relevance of “The Story Tour” – and the significant story it relates. He’s been a youth leader longer than he’s been a Christian-music star, which, he said, gives him a positive teaching perspective on being grounded and remembering what’s important in life.
“To me, it’s good because it keeps me in the real world. It’s just normal life, so I need this,” he said. “God connected me to (fans) through a song that he helped me write. I try to use that position to encourage people. You don’t want to be one more obnoxious celebrity-type person.
“My goal for being in Crowns is the same goal I have for being in youth ministry and that is to open people’s eyes to the truth that God loves them. So if he can save me, I know he can save you. That message gets lost.”
God is not a book, Hall said. Rather, God is a person who relates to people. And singers relating to each other and the audience is, essentially, what this 14-city tour is about.
“We’re all doing our own tours, doing our own thing. All these artists are sharing the gospel,” Hall said. “This is big because we can give (fans) this and walk through the Bible.”
As noble as “The Story Tour” is, it still is a big-ticket show, another Christmastime event to attend. It’s the message that counts for Hall.
“Any concert you go to, no matter what the style is, you’re going to hear pretty soon what they’re about,” Hall said. “To me, (this show) is a bunch of artists sharing their lives. What’s going to come out in this is who we are and what we’re about.”
After wading through the product marketing blitzes, this time of year, for many, is about family.
“If anything, it’s almost like setting up a lighthouse in the middle through all that madness,” Hall said. “You get to try to create a moment for the family that they can be a part of for Christmas.”