Worship band Casting Crowns, reigning winner of the Gospel Music Association’s prestigious Dove Award for Group of the Year, will headline Encounter Ontario, a first-of-its-kind provincial Christian heritage day, incorporating Christian music and an expo, 10am-11pm, Saturday, August 20, 2005, at the Ontario Place/Molson Amphitheatre complex, at 955 Lakeshore Boulevard West, Toronto.
Casting Crowns’ self-titled CD Casting Crowns CD was the fastest selling debut Christian artist disc in recent years. At the center of Casting Crowns is Mark Hall, a youth pastor, who, until recently, was writing music primarily for the kids in his youth groups. Casting Crowns grew out of two of Hall’s stops along his youth ministry path, first while leading a youth group in Daytona Beach, Fla., then transplanting and growing when Hall moved to a new position in Atlanta, Georgia.
Discovered and signed in early 2003 by Mark Miller, of country music’s Sawyer Brown, to be the debut artist for Beach Street Records, an imprint Miller founded and leads for Provident Label Group, Casting Crowns found themselves in the enviable position of making their first major label record with Christian music icon Steven Curtis Chapman as co-producer, Chapman’s first time producing another artists’ work.
Hall’s presentation of straightforward and challenging Christ-centered lyrics found a home at Christian radio which embraced hard-hitting #1 charting songs like “If We Are the Body,” “Who Am I” and “Voice of Truth.” These songs played a considerable role in the band’s success, helping them sell over a million copies of their debut disc.
Those who buy tickets for Encounter Ontario in Toronto will most likely be treated to material from the group’s brand new CD, Lifesong, scheduled for release on August 30. Lifesong explores what an authentic life of worship looks like, desiring to ask the hard questions like “Why are you doing that?” instead of “What are you doing?”
“Lifesong,” the project’s first radio single, is undeniably a worship song, but as lead singer and founder of the group Mark Hall says, “It’s our kind of worship song—one that asks questions first. What is worship really? Why are you doing this? Worship is not a song; it’s the heart that lifts the song. It’s the motivation behind it. Life is worship, not singing.”
Once again produced by Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown, Lifesong continues in the same vein as Casting Crowns’ debut, delivering messages that cut to the heart of the matter, not mincing words to appease the masses, but choosing to poke and prod the church out of indifference and apathy. With songs like the album’s anthemic track, “Love Them Like Jesus,” along with “Praise You In This Storm,” Hall has again written a stirring collection of songs that unapologetically and effectively targets believers, with most of the material being taken from their continued involvement in their home church.
“It’s the ministry that creates the songs, not the other way around,” states Hall. “From 14 years of being a youth pastor, if I haven’t been through it myself, I’ve been through it a hundred times with someone else. The songs are just about life; it’s where we all live.”
With their self-titled debut album Casting Crowns having reached RIAA Platinum status (for sales of one million copies), and the Platinum certification of their Live From Atlanta DVD release, Casting Crowns continues to notch up remarkable achievements. Including their Group of the Year win, Casting Crowns and Mark Hall were honored with seven total Dove Awards at the 2005 Gospel Music Awards, including Song of the Year (“Who Am I”) and Songwriter of the Year for Hall.
For the year 2004, Casting Crowns was the most played artist on all Christian radio formats combined, and performed to more than one million people in concert.
If you want to see Casting Crowns when they come to Toronto for Encounter Ontario on August 20, get tickets early, as seating is assigned and will sell-out quickly. Tickets are $42.50 Cdn., which includes admission to Ontario Place, the Canadian National Exhibition, the Casting Crowns’ concert and several other concerts, including Carried Away, Manic Drive, Greg Sczebel, Kurt Carr and God Rocks. U.S. attenders can get tickets through www.itickets.com, while Canadians can charge by phone at 416-870-8000 (Ticketmaster). They’re also available at most provincial Christian bookstores, by calling 866-620-7827 or at the festival’s informative website, www.encounterontario.com.
Buy Casting Crowns Projects
Casting Crowns CD