Christian rock sensation MercyMe appears with Grand Rapids Symphony for Christmas

Media Contact:
Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk
Grand Rapids Symphony
616.454.9451 x 139

GRAND RAPIDS, MI., April 26, 2016 – When his father died in 1991, MercyMe’s vocalist Bart Millard, took up pen and paper to reflect on the loss.

Alone on a tour bus in the middle of the night, Millard, only 18 years old at the time, drew on his faith and gathered his thoughts about what it would be like to stand before God in heaven.

The lyrics became a song on MercyMe’s 1999 album, “The Worship Project.” Two years later, “I Can Only Imagine” was rerecorded and released as the debut single for the contemporary Christian pop/rock band.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorists attacks in 2001, the ballad soon dominated Christian radio, crossing over to mainstream radio in the next two years, spending 16 weeks in total on the Hot 100 Adult Contemporary Chart.

In 2010, “I Can Only Imagine” became the first single in the Christian genre certified platinum with over 1 million digital downloads. Four years later, it was certified double platinum with over 2 million digital downloads.

MercyMe, one of the most successful Christian pop/rock groups of the past two decades, comes to Grand Rapids for a special Christmas show with the Grand Rapids Symphony at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, in Resurrection Life Church, 5100 Ivanrest Ave. SW in Grandville.

Tickets start at $30. A limited number of family 4-pack tickets are available for $75.

Tickets go on sale Monday, May 2 to Grand Rapids Symphony subscribers as an add-on with a season ticket purchase. 

Tickets go on sale on Sunday, May 8 to members of Resurrection Life Church. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, May 16.

Consisting of keyboardist James Bryson, percussionist Robby Shaffer, bassist Nathan Cochran and guitarists Michael Scheuchzer and Barry Graul, plus with Millard on vocals, MercyMe will be in Grand Rapids with a Christmas-flavored concert including songs such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and “Silent Night.”

Last year, MercyMe appeared on Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, televised on NBC-TV. This year, celebrate the start of the Christmas season with the show led by Associate Conductor John Varineau, and your Grand Rapids Symphony.

The Grammy-nominated band from Greenville, Texas, is credited with six of the top 50 Christian songs of the first decade of the 21st century, according to Billboard.

Winner of two American Music Awards, nominated for five in all, MercyMe is a nominee for two 2016 Billboard Music Awards for Top Christian Artist and for Top Christian Song for the track, “Flawless.” ABC-TV airs the Billboard Music Awards at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 22.

MercyMe, whose hits include “Here With Me,” “Homesick” and “So Long Self,” last was in Grand Rapids as part of the Rock and Worship Road Show that appeared in the Van Andel Arena in February 2013.


Tickets start at $30 and will be available at the GRS box office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.) Buy tickets online at the Grand Rapids Symphony’s website at
Tickets also will be available at Resurrection Life Church, 5100 Ivanrest Ave. SW, Grandville. Call the church at (616) 534-4923 or go online at

About the Grand Rapids Symphony

Organized in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Advisor Larry Rachleff, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are given each year, touching the lives of some 200,000, nearly half of whom are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities all reached through extensive education and community service programs. Affiliated organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus; Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra; and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. GRS sponsors the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival and provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet. To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony, please visit the Grand Rapids Symphony’s website,

This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.