MercyMe returns for 2016 Christmas show with Grand Rapids Symphony

Last time MercyMe was in Grand Rapids, they shared the stage with eight other groups.

Granted, the “Rock & Worship Roadshow,” featuring Jeremy Camp Family Force, Kutless and Luminate, was held in the Van Andel Arena.

But when the Christmas holidays bring MercyMe back to town, there will be only one other act on the bill – the Grand Rapids Symphony.

MercyMe, one of the most successful Christian pop/rock groups of the past two decades, comes to the Grand Rapids area for a special Christmas show with the Grand Rapids Symphony on Nov. 29.

Beginning at $30, tickets are on sale to the public beginning Monday, May 16 for concert at Resurrection Life Church, 5100 Ivanrest Ave. SW in Grandville. A limited number of family 4-pack tickets are available for $75 for the group that will perform season songs such as "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "Silent Night."

Tickets went on sale earlier to Grand Rapids Symphony subscribers and to members of Resurrection Life Church, which hosts the 7:30 p.m. performance.

The band original from Texas, now based in Nashville, enjoys going back to familiar places. Past appearances in West Michigan include a 2006 concert at Fifth third Ball Park in Comstock Park.

“I have a knack for remembering places I’ve been before,” said guitarist Barry Graul, to Do Savannah prior to show there in April. “You become familiar with your surroundings”

“When you hit places year after year, it’s an extension of home life,” he said. “Familiarity is a comfortable feeling.

One of the most recognizable and popular bands in contemporary Christian music today, MercyMe has sold more than 8.5 million CDs, singles and DVDs and collected Numerous American Music Awards and Dove Awards.

“I Can Only Imagine,” a song about what it would be like to stand before God in heaven, from the band’s 1999 album, “The Worship Project,” was MercyMe’s debut single. But the song soon garnered mainstream airplay, becoming the first contemporary Christian song to go platinum and double-platinum. Today, the song by MercyMe vocalist Bart Millard, which the group re-recorded in 2001, has surpassed 2 million digital downloads and counting.

Yet it was another song, “Word of God Speak,” from the band’s 2002 album, “Spoken for,” that Billboard magazine in 2009 named the No. 1 Song of Decade while also dubbing MercyMe the No. 1 Artist of the Decade in both Christians Songs and Christian AC Songs categories.

Since its 2013 appearance in the Van Andel Arena, the quintet released “Welcome to the New” in 2014, an album about grace and identity that launched MercyMe on a fresh start, riding the top of the Christian airplay charts in 2015.

“We’re trying to be honest about the things we were going through on this record, and people caught onto that,” said bassist Nathan Cochran to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in April. “People like ‘Flawless’ or ‘Dear Younger Me’ because they’re honest takes on things we had to deal with, and people appreciated that, whether they were like faith with us or not.”

Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at 12:30 PM
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