Hi Mitch friends,
Mitch was just here in Wichita again this weekend, and I'd like to take this opportunity to post overdue reviews of his visit here a couple months ago, as well as all the events this weekend. There are lots of links and pics, so browse around.
(click on thumbnails to see a larger picture - will open in a new window)
Last February, when Mitch was in town for a couple concerts, he graciously agreed to come by our church, Ascension Lutheran Church, on Wednesday evening, 2/3/1999, and speak to our kids in LOGOS (our mid-week program).
Most of the kids were aware of who Mitch was, and were really excited, especially since it was a last minute arrangement (I had only asked Mitch a couple days before). He spoke to a combined worship skills class about how important and special it was for them to have the chance to get together every week like this, and practice singing and praising. He told them how his life on the road made it impossible to make it to his own church every Sunday and how difficult it was most times to even get to church for "regular" worship at all - even though he spent most of his time in churches and singing music for God.
He also sang a couple songs for them, including "My Deliverer." Though Mitch co-wrote it, it was actually the first time I'd heard Mitch sing this new addition to his repertoire. He modestly introduced it (as he now does in concerts) as a song that his departed friend, Rich Mullins, and he wrote together for Rich to record. "Unfortunately, he never got to record it, but his friends in the Ragamuffin Band did, and I'd like to sing it for you now." (editor's note: I had a couple kids come up to me at church since the Dove Awards and excitedly ask me, "Didn't that song Mitch sang for us when he was here win a Dove Award?" - obviously a very special memory for them.)
Mitch also spent some time with the High School LOGOS class, and Derek Broten, our youth leader, says they still talk about that.
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The morning of Feb 4th, Mitch and his band came back to Mitch and Michael's alma mater, Friends University. They were featured in a very special "Faith and Learning Lecture Series" in the Alumni Auditorium, which is located in the 113-year-old Davis Administration Building (listed on the National Register of Historic Places). Chaplain, author, and longtime friend of Mitch and Rich, Jim Smith, was the moderator for the "talk-show" styled appearance.
Here is a review of the morning submitted by Jason Haag.
This is a loose review of the Friends University Wichita, KS performance on February 4, 1999 Mitch and his band played for an auditorium PACKED with college students for their weekly chapel. I didn't take notes like I had planned because I was mesmerized by 1) their performance and 2) the short interviews the Chaplain did with each of them between songs. This is the performance as best as I can remember it. They opened up with Here and Now and went right on into Take Hold of Me. These guys play so many different instruments it actually scares me. Michael played some configuration of Conga's, high hat, tambourine, splash cymbal, and a large shallow - open bottomed drum. (If you've never seen them perform, it is an experience like no other). Jim Smith, the Chaplain, then called Mitch over to interview him. They sat on stage and leaned back into one of the UGLIEST couches I have ever seen (must have come from a dorm room) and put their feet up on a coffee table. Jim made a few lame jokes to which the crowd stared blankly at him and he remarked that it was a "tough crowd." Mitch replied, "I think it's because you're not saying anything funny." After joking around about Mitch's days as a basketball player and religion major at Friends, Jim asked a serious question of Mitch. He asked Mitch to talk about the accident and his recovery. Mitch took the microphone from Jim and started to say he had been in an accident September of 1997. . .. and paused to collect himself. He started in again. . ..and paused, obviously choked up. Then he handed the microphone back to Jim and told him to "say something funny". Jim took the mic and started to speak when Mitch snatched the microphone back from him. He turned towards the audience and said in a clear voice, "I was in a pretty bad wreck in September of 1997." He paused again and looked into the sky and informed the audience he was trying to think happy thoughts. His current "happy thought" was of Care Bears. That broke the tension nicely and Mitch continued to say that the wreck took the life of Rich Mullins and messed himself up "pretty good". They played another song, I think it was "Heaven is Waiting" from the Canticle. I think it tied in nicely to both the flow of the conversation, and the mood of the audience. After that song, Jim called Eric Hauk over to interview. They discussed important matters such as how long it took for Eric to grow his mammoth beard. Evidently, he's been cultivating it since June. Eric was on his way to medical school when he decided to take a year off and ride across the country on his motorcycle. Jim told the story of the initial meeting between Eric and Rich and Mitch at a gas station "in the middle of nowhere." Rich was looking for a Christian cellist, and here was Eric - riding a motorcycle, in his leathers, at a gas station - and they strike up a conversation about the cello. Rich was a weird guy. Jim asked what Eric has been learning in life and he replied that he had learned a couple of things. First of all, he has learned just how much God is leading and directing - whether we know it or not. And secondly, he has learned that life's little "interruptions" are opportunities to see where God is working in his life. Meeting up with Rich was a little "interruption" on his way to medical school .. . .and he thanks God for it. Shelli sang "In Your Hands" from the Canticle and I think the school known for it's great vocalists sat in awe. She is an amazing singer - not only for her voice, but the passion she pours into every word, every note, every theme of the song. I don't even remember what the other three were playing, but I'm sure it was good. After she finished singing, Jim asked her over to the "Oprah Couch" for a quick visit. Jim informed the audience that Shelli was a former Miss Indiana and had learned a lot through pageantry that she could maybe pass along to everyone. Shelli talked about the need for people to like her and the need to win approval from others. She believed that if she could win something like Miss Indiana then everyone would like her. And if she could go on to Miss America - she would have it made. In the end, though, she learned that it didn't matter what others thought of her. What did matter was who Jesus said she was. After another song or 2, Jim drew the names of 2 of the audience members to come up on stage and sit on the "Oprah Couch" and ask a couple questions of the band. They finished with The Lemonade Song, which Mitch dedicated to the athletes who sit in the back of the auditorium and sleep through Chapel. The Chapel at Friends University is notorious for disruptions, students talking, listening to walkmans, etc. when there is a speaker or performer on stage. The only time I have seen differently in my 6 years of involvement at this school is when Brennan Manning comes to speak. During the few pauses in Brennan's presentation, you can hear a pin drop. Students sit still, eyes glued on Manning, almost afraid to breathe for fear they will miss something. That's the way it was with Mitch. When they were on the couch, pouring their hearts out, you could hear a pin drop. When they would talk from behind their instruments, it was silent. Brennan Manning silent. That's humble power. I wish I had a better memory. . .but I don't. I wish I could paint a better picture for you with this. . ..but I can't. You'll just have to see it for yourself. Go With God, jason
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