Crowder Gets Into A (Winter) Jam

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Crowder D. Van Andel 2019David Crowder opened for MercyMe last October at Van Andel ArenaDavid Crowder likes to glean musical knowledge from a variety of sources. And the singer-songwriter – who headlines this year's Winter Jam tour – has discovered a way to get more of his original songs into his limited stage time on the multi-artist concert bill.

"I've learned from the Reach Records guys down here in Atlanta...like Lecrae and Andy Mineo...they're able to run through like 20 of their songs in 15 minutes," said the Crowder of the faith-based hip-hop artists.

"It's all about how to truncate songs and hit spots that feel the moment, get the high points and move onto the next one.

It's a technique he said he'll use in this year's tour which opened Jan. 10 and comes to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Jan. 19.

Music and More Targeting West Michigan This Year

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Daigle Lauren seatedLauren Daigle visits Van Andel Arena in March Few observers can recall such a crowded wintertime Christian music concert schedule this season with all the national artists coming through West Michigan.

There's an average at least one show per week headed our way through the month of April! And that doesn't include local or regional acts or concerts yet to be announced.

Van Andel Arena events include the annual Winter Jam experience on Jan. 19 (headlined by David Crowder, whom we will be featuring soon in a separate article) and singer-songwriter Lauren Daigle on March 12. By the way, Daigle's song "You Say" was recently calculated by Billboard as the No. 2 chart-driven "Hot Christian Song" of the past decade (topped only by Hillsong United's "Oceans: (Where Feet May Fail").

Hand2Hand: Feeding, Blessing and Loving 7,500 Students in 7 Counties

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 1-6Hand2Hand founder and executive director Cheri Honderd stands in the pantry Fair Haven Church provides. The weekend can be a very long two days for kids who have little or nothing to eat.

That was the sobering reality Cheri Honderd discovered in 2008 when the Great Recession still had a firm grip on the economy. Honderd learned there were 19 students in Jenison coming to school Monday mornings with their stomachs growling with hunger.

Honderd's awareness led to her founding the Hudsonville-based nonprofit, Hand2Hand.

Since then, Hand2Hand has multiplied its outreach to include feeding 7,500 students with weekend meals who attend 193 schools in seven West Michigan counties, thanks to the partnership muscle of more than 100 churches and thousands of volunteers.

2019 in Review

Written by Editor in Chief on . Posted in Local

calendar-31stWest Michigan Christian News presents 2019 in review. Below are links to many of the articles we published during the year, reminding us of the many ordinary people in and around West Michigan who are doing extraordinay things to advance the Kingdom of God.

A Look Back at the Year That Was

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

calendar page turn-1Well, 2019 is but a calendar-page away from completion. So maybe it's time to share a take on the West Michigan Christian music scene over the last 11 months. Let's see where we've been, and maybe a bit of where we're going.

A Concert Year:

Van Andel Arena hosted several faith-based shows during 2019, included the annual Winter Jam (headlined by Newsboys), MercyMe, TobyMac, Casting Crowns and Hillsong United, plus the recent Christmas show with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. And Switchfoot made a memorable stop at 20 Monroe Live.

New Music Reviews Two New Christmas Season Projects

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Born a King  coverThe local ResLife Worship crew (part of Reslife Church in Grandville) has a new three-song collection for this Christmas season.

Church worship leader Ken Reynolds wrote and produced each of the songs. The worship-ful title song -"Born A King"- features vocals by Tiffany Mauer with choral background from the ResLife Choir. The "Come let us adore Him" lyric reinforces the Christmas message.

"Starry Night" is a slower-tempo, keyboard-based ballad, with lush strings courtesy of the City of Prague Orchestra, and added saxophone by ResLife associate pastor of worship Bruce Vanderveen.

Makarios Décor Blessed to Craft Home Furnishings No One Has Seen Before

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 1-5Airika and Max Kolenda are inspired to own Makarios Décor. Prominently displayed inside Makarios Décor is a table made of elm wood with the entire Gospel of Matthew inscribed on it. It's an understatement to call the slab of wood a conversation piece.

"I had a epiphany or vision that we need to dive into extremely complex art and bring things into the world no one has ever seen before," says Max Kolenda who owns and operates Makarios Décor with his wife of 8 ½ years, Airika. The couple has four boys, ages eight, six, four and one. "That led us to utilizing lasers to create things."

Makarios Décor's 3,000-square foot retail space is a test store. It's located inside Woodland Mall near the JC Penny anchor. The Kolendas signed a temporary lease that runs through Jan. 21, 2020, according to Max, age 31. Thereafter, the Byron Center couple will decide if they want to have a brick and mortar store year round or seasonally.

Amy Grant-Michael W Smith Concert

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

agAmy Grant and Michael W. SmithOn his current concert tour, singer-songwriter Marc Martel feels like he’s back home.

“I’ve kept my connections with my brothers and sisters in Christian music and have amazing memories from that time,” said the artist from his Nashville area home.

But it’s especially during the holiday season that he has re-connected with his musical roots - he was selected to join Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith on their Christmas tour this year, coming to Grand Rapids Dec. 5.

After a decade-plus run by his faith-based band Downhere, Martel was shot into the mainstream music world. His calling card was his piercing vocal which is a sound-alike for the late rock singer Freddie Mercury of Queen.

God’s Unconditional Love Flows Through Grand Rapids Volunteers at the El Paso Annunciation House

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 1-4Rev. Lally embraced an attitude of gratitude when he ministered to some of the most gentle and loving people while in El Paso, Texas. The Rev. Joachim Lally's love for the least of these had him recently casting a wide net of kindness.

It's the reason why he and four Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters — Chela Gonzalez, Janet Brown, Joyce Ann Hertzig and Mary Kay Oosdyke — were compelled to journey earlier this year to the Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas. Operated entirely by volunteers, the five Grand Rapidians helped welcome for two weeks an influx of refugees from Brazil, Portuguese, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Christmas Is “Coming Home” for Gaither & Crew

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Gaither Vocal Band fall2019Gaither Vocal Band (from l.) Wes Hampton, Reggie Smith, Bill Gaither, Todd Suttles, Adam Crabb Singer Reggie Smith is having the time of his life as part of the Gaither Vocal Band.

"Talk about a band of brothers...it's like we're in ninth grade again," beamed Smith, 53, from his Nashville area home.

Smith has been part of the legendary Southern Gospel quintet for nearly three years and worked with them for many years previously. But he still takes inspiration from the group's founder and senior member, Bill Gaither.

"His motor is second to none, and he's been a mentor to all of us with his attitude, creativity and brilliance," he noted of Gaither, 83.

Gaither leads his vocal band and a stable of other music artists in a "Christmas Homecoming" tour which stops at Grand Rapids First on Dec. 5.

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