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The Almost and Ivoryline perform at Bluefield College

Bluefield College opened the new semester with a series of concerts featuring nationally known talents when Alternative rock bands Ivoryline and The Almost took the stage in Harman Chapel.

Trey Wilson

September 28, 2010

Bluefield College opened the new semester with a series of concerts featuring nationally known talents when Alternative rock bands Ivoryline and The Almost took the stage in Harman Chapel.

 

On September 20, the Texas-based band Ivoryline came to campus to put on a show for the students of Bluefield College. The band was touring in promotion of its latest album, Vessels. Vessels is the follow-up to their successful debut album, There Came a Lion, which reached the top 25 on the Billboard Top Christian albums chart and the top 15 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Ivoryline performed an energetic set including its hits "Be Still and Breathe," "Hearts and Minds," and "Days End."

 

Following the set, members of the band took the time to meet with students and fans that had gathered in the lobby of Harman Chapel.

 

Eight days later, Bluefield welcomed The Almost, featuring Aaron Gillespie, the former lead singer and drummer for the Grammy-nominated band Underoath. The student body was joined by fans of the band that had made the trip from several states including different parts of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee as Harman Chapel was filled near its capacity. Hours before the concert started, fans gathered outside with hopes of catching a glimpse of Gillespie.

 

"I'm really happy the show was a success," said Nathan Cronk, Student Activities Coordinator for Bluefield College. "We packed pretty much the whole house."

 

There was a strong positive reception from the Bluefield students.

 

"These concerts show the spirit that Bluefield students have," said Lindsey Hazelwood, a senior communications major. "You see people rocking out, jumping up and down, and having a really good time."

 

Cronk said he thinks these concerts provide valuable opportunities for the students of the college.

 

"Students have the opportunity to personally engage with these artists," said Cronk. "Because we are a small campus, students are able to talk with these artists after the shows. It is not like that when you go to a concert in a big arena."

 

Cronk said the members of these bands are able to reach out to the students in a unique way.

 

"The band members invest time and take interest in what a fan is saying," said Cronk. "It can really change someone's life. Especially when you are dealing with Christian bands. It can affect someone spiritually. That's what we want to do all around.

We want to help reach out to students through music. There are some things preaching can't do. Music can touch people in ways that spoken words sometimes can't."

 

The Almost and Ivoryline are both bands that are not marketed specifically as Christian artists. They play a style of music that is marketed toward a secular crowd with the hopes that the influence of Christ on their lives will reflect through their lyrics and in the process reflect on the people who need to hear their message the most.

 

Jeremy Gray, lead singer of Ivoryline, said he wants his band to be a light in the darkness for its audience.

 

"Most of our life as a band we have felt we have been called to play for secular audiences or non-Christians and to try to bring some of God's hope, truth, and joy through music to people who may not know or experience it in any other way," said Gray.

 

Gray hopes that the music of Ivoryline will be influential to the audience it attracts, especially with teenagers and young adults.

 

"They want to see an example to live by," said Gray. "The more popular you get, the more you have to think, 'Am I portraying an image of Christ? Am I doing it on stage? Am I doing it backstage?' It's all about living it all the time and not putting on two different faces."

 

The bands not only reach out to their audiences, but also to the members of the bands they are surrounded by on tours and events. They are Christians submersed in the stereotypical rock-and-roll world.

 

"I'm just like any other human and I make a lot of mistakes," said Aaron Gillespie of The Almost. "Sometimes it's easy; sometimes it isn't. Sometimes you don't do what you should, but I try to be as real as I can with people. I think that's what Christ did. He came down and He was real. He was God in man form and He was that and nothing else. There was no circumstance. There was no pomp and parading around being something he wasn't. That is how I want to be."

 

The Almost have released two albums, including breakthrough record Southern Weather in 2007. Their first single, "Say This Sooner," reached the number one spot in the US Hot 100 Singles chart. Their latest album, Monster Monster, has reached the number three spot in the US Christian Albums chart and has climbed to the number 26 spot on the US Rock Albums chart.

 

Gillespie finished the recording of a solo worship album set to release in March 2011.

 

"It's totally different than anything I've ever done musically," said Gillespie.

Bluefield College will continue its concert series with Trevis Prince on November 4 and Andy Cherry on December 2. These concerts will take place in the Student Activities Center in Shott Hall as part of the Bluefield College Coffeehouse Series.

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