January started with a bang thanks to Winter Jam, the jam-packed Christian music tour featuring Skillet, Jeremy Camp and numerous other artists that filled Van Andel Arena back on Jan. 4. Read a review online. You can see a repeat of Winter Jam at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Feb. 21).
Other nationwide tours by well known artists such as Third Day, David Crowder and Matt Maher are coming through the area over the next several months.
There are several events involving local artists as well. And two of Michigan’s summer Christian music festivals are celebrating anniversaries in 2015.
The Grammy-winning pop-rock band Third Day brings its “Soul On Fire” tour to DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. March 22. Special guest is singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb, who won a Dove Award last fall as New Artist of the Year. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster outlets.
Worship is the focus on April 9 when All Sons & Daughters (featuring Leslie Jordan and David Leonard) and special guests Jamie George and Sandra McCracken perform at 7 p.m. in Life Church, 12900 US-31, Grand Haven. Tickets are $15 and available online.
Singer-songwriter/worship-leader Matt Maher returns to West Michigan at 7 p.m. April 18 at Community Reformed Church, 10376 Felch St. in Zeeland.
Maher is a regular in the area, and several times he has visited the summertime Worship on the Waterfront series in Grand Haven.
General admission tickets are $15, and for an extra $10 you get early admission. Visit online.
An evening with singer-songwriter Laura Story (“Blessings”) is set for 7 p.m. May 16 at Sunshine Community Church, 3300 E. Beltline NE. The event is a benefit for Hope Through the Storm Ministries. Tickets range from $15 to $25, with VIP tickets at $30. Available online.
And save April 17 for David Crowder, who brings his “Neon Steeple” tour to Ridgepoint Church, 340 104th Ave. Holland. Tickets are $25, with VIP and group rate tickets also available. Tickets go on sale Jan. 19 at itickets.com.
Randy Wolthuis is an area psychologist. But he's also has been organist at Fifth Reformed Church for nearly 40 years.
Wolthuis is joined by two other area church musicians - Glenn Bulthuis (Oakhill Presbyterian) and Peter Bardolf (Bella Vista Church) – for a wide-ranging evening of music at 7:30 p.m. March 7 at Fifth Church, 2012 Griggs St. SE. Compositions from Brahams to The Beatles are on the program. The concert is a benefit for Water For Life.
The Battle of the Bands returns again on March 28 at Kent City Baptist Church, 400 W. Muskegon St. in Kent City. The event is a benefit for Algoma Christian School. The winner of the “battle” gets to perform on the A-Stage at this summer’s Unity Christian Music Festival. Tickets are $5 in advance, $8 at the door or online.
This is the 10th anniversary of The Big Ticket Festival (BTF-X), the annual Christian music gathering which began in Gaylord, Mich. and stopped in Ionia and Allegan before returning to its original home several years ago.
The June 25-27 event features numerous Christian bands, kids games and other attractions.
Although the exact schedule has not yet been set, TobyMac and Newsboys are two of the headliners. Three, two and one-day tickets are available, as are family passes. There’s a junior rate for age 12 and under. Visit online.
The Unity Christian Music Festival at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon observes its 15th anniversary this Aug. 5-8. Although headliners have not yet been announced, tickets are on sale online. Premier reserved seating is available for an additional charge. The opening “Day Zero” Aug. 5 is free admission. For general information call 231-773-3361.
Faith-based comedian Jeff Allen is the keynote speaker April 27 for the Hudsonville Unity Christian High School Education Foundation. The event is at The Pinnacle Center, 3330 Highland Dr. in Hudsonville. For more information call 616-669-1820.
The Fellowship for Performing Arts (FPA) come to Grand Rapids to stage two performances of “The Great Divorce,” an adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel at 4 and 8 p.m. Sat. April 18. Tickets include a post-show Q & A with Max McLean, FPA founder and executive director. Tickets range from $31.50 to $91.50, and are available at the DeVos box office or at ticketmaster.com.
“Things We Couldn’t Say,” the story of Dutch Resistance member Diet Eman, comes to the stage May 14-30 at Master Arts Theatre, 75 77th St. SW. The production coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Nazi takeover of Rotterdam, Netherlands. Adult tickets $16, students and senior citizens, $14. www.masterarts.org 616-455-1001.