|Background: I have invited people to share their experiences of the effect or impact Mitch's music has on their lives. This forum is not for concert reviews which are covered at the Official Site Link This article forum of sharing stories is open to other Mitch McVicker music followers at this site. It's ideal for those who have something to say and don't want or have a concert review to express it in. Please do not feel you need to write any more than a few paragraph's. If your interested, just send me an e-mail at email@example.com|
one comes from Brian who is Lauren and Alex's dad. Lauren is the
young author of our last story that was just published Feb 2001.
Brian joked around after Lauren's story was published "hey when do
I get to do mine?" I jumped at the chance to have him answer the
same interview questions Lauren tackled realizing that this was certainly
an opportunity of witnessing God wanted shared. I love seeing the
hand of God, shaping and molding people. I think these short articles
written by people who are willing to share their experiences are fuel for
the guys and interesting and helpful for others to read. More exciting
is that they are the outpour and a wonderful witness to the power of the
Holy Spirit moving in them. I'm thankful, always thankful by what
God does. I've got to use a quote from an interview I did with Brad:
I wrote this: " I am never amazed
when God goes, "thanks for asking, this is what I can do for you at this
time." What DOES amaze me is when people do that."
Thanks Brian! ~ your friend in Christ ~ suzan.
~ How did you hear about Mitch? did you just stumble onto him at church before you took Lauren that night?
First I will give you a little background… I married my high school sweetheart after dating her for 9 years. After ten years of operating and living at our business, we decided we wanted a different life. In 1994, I enrolled in college in St. Louis (100 miles away from home) and for the next four years I spent weekdays in St. Louis and weekends with the family.
Finally, in May of 1998 I graduated and took a job near where my wife was employed. We bought our first home, and furnished it with all new stuff. Even though my marriage had suffered some during the college years, it seemed our dreams of a new and better life had finally come to fruition. I soon came to realize that my wife had different ideas.
We had been blessed with two beautiful children. The thought of them coming from a broken home was unbearable. Personally, I had come from a great home with great parents. In contrast, I now felt like a big failure. I made mistakes and will be the first to admit it. I wasn’t always the best and most loving husband. I know I changed for the better but unfortunately the marriage couldn’t be saved. In the Spring of 2000 we sold our beautiful home and went our separate ways. Our children remained with my wife, who fortunately lives near by. The whole divorce process was very taxing emotionally. Even though I saw my children often, there were times that I felt that I was losing touch with them. It was a very difficult time.
One Sunday last September, while the children were staying with me, I awoke with this sense I should go to church. I asked my daughter Lauren if she would go with me, but she decided to sleep in. I didn’t even know what church to go to that morning. Over the previous couple of years, we had sporadically attended different ones. So, that morning I just randomly chose one that had previously appealed to me. I settled into the pew and noticed in the bulletin that there would be a special musical guest that day.
Since I enjoy music, I thought to myself that this might be interesting. I guess I figured he would sing a couple of songs and that would be it. Instead Mitch and the guys came out and opened with “Only Love Will,” and then played about 8 or 9 more songs. I was completely blown away. The whole divorce ordeal had left me with a broken heart, and “Only Love Will” really hit me.
I was hooked immediately. Then Mitch spoke of the accident and of his ongoing vision and nerve problems. The humble and straightforward manner with which he spoke was remarkable. Suddenly my problems seemed so minuscule. It's really hard to describe how I felt that day, but I knew it was a special moment in my life.
There was a certain charm about
Mitch. I guess it was just a combination of his sense
I am still thankful that God guided me to that church that day. To think how much attending that day has changed my life is truly astonishing! The guys played about 45 minutes. Right off the bat, I remember thinking, “I wish Lauren would have came along.” When I heard the “The Lemonade Song,” I knew I had to get her to see him. On the way out, I remember walking by Mitch, but I was too shy to say anything to him. I did buy two CD’s and also grabbed a card, which listed his web-site address.
When I got home, I couldn’t wait to play the CD for Lauren. She gave the music about a 45-second chance before voicing her disapproval! I was disappointed, because I knew she would probably like him if she could see him perform. Sometime that afternoon, I found Mitch’s web-site and saw that they were playing again that evening just across town.
I began begging Lauren to go with me. She thought I was completely nuts. Sunday night was her night to go to Bradley’s, which is a local bar that has a “teens only night” every Sunday evening. I was not crazy about her hanging out there. It just seemed like it might be a place to get hooked up with the wrong crowd. I kept pleading with her all afternoon until she finally gave in. (I later found out it was only because her other friends couldn’t go to the “teen night” that evening!)
I was so excited. I was hoping that the same magic I witnessed that morning was real. It was a beautiful church and the show was even better than I expected. Mitch had a humorous comment when they had to stop the first song because of a sound problem. It had something to do with an Etch-a-sketch, and was just plain funny. It was our first time of hearing Brad sing “Tin Man,” and the story and the song were great. The small crowd was very receptive and gave the guys a standing ovation after “Burning the Fields.”
After the worship songs, I kind of wanted to go meet Mitch and the guys, but Lauren was a little shy about it so we just headed out. I think it was really the next day that I realized that Mitch had made a big impression on her too.
We soon decided to see Mitch that following Thursday night in Macomb, Illinois. I was able to talk my mom into riding along. I think Lauren just took a sick day from school and we made a whole day out of it. I remember I stopped by the local Christian bookstore sometime that week and bought my first Rich Mullins CD. To be honest, I had never heard of him before hearing Mitch speak of his name. I remember we listened to Rich and Mitch all the way over to the concert and back.
After the concert, Lauren and I finally decided to meet Mitch and ask him to pose for a picture. He was just incredibly nice and I took a great picture of the two of them. Lauren was on cloud nine. We told Mitch we had driven 3 hours and he was very appreciative. I knew something had definitely clicked in Lauren when she said that Mitch and the guys had surpassed the Backstreet Boys as her favorite musicians!
~ Can you explain how the first exposure to his music made you feel?
I guess that it made me feel that maybe my problems could be overcome and that there was life beyond the bad things that pop up in one’s life. Mitch’s comment about “seeing good things come from tragic” events hit home with me. It made me realize that we don’t always understand God’s plan for us but that we just have to have faith and trust and follow our hearts.
~ When Lauren agreed to that first concert, what were your hopes?
Initially, I think I just hoped
she could see some of what I saw that morning: talented,
~ Could you tell the initial impact it made on Lauren before the night was over? Were you both hooked on the music from the start, or did it grow?
I think I could tell during that
concert that she was connecting, but it was the next day
~ Explain the motivation to keep going to the concerts, and so many! Not all close either, TX, Ok, WI, KS.. wow something is motivating you to go to them! This answer can be simple or a novel no? Your relationship with God, your relationship with Lauren, and just plain enjoying the experience?
It’s weird, but I guess we have
never discussed exactly why we keep going. Obviously
I grew up with all brothers so little girls were kind of scary to me! But Lauren has been a special child since the day I first held her. She is brilliant, beautiful, and has unlimited potential. She has great poise and self-confidence. I also know that she is at an age where there are many temptations.
Even though she has a great head
on her shoulders, there were a few things I saw that
While the concerts are great, the car rides to the trips are just as special. We get to spend hours talking about everything under the sun as well as getting to listen to great music. We drove 800 miles on a school night to Wisconsin last fall. It was a great experience. We had a loaner car with only a cassette player. We had only one tape with us. It consisted of Mitch and Rich tunes. We must have listened to it a dozen times or more. It was practically too hot to touch when we finally ejected it at 4 am!
I remember the weather that day was kind of stormy, yet the sun kept popping through, creating some of the most remarkable skies we had ever seen. Around sunset, an incredible double rainbow appeared. We even stopped along the interstate and took pictures. We have noticed tremendous displays of God’s Majesty on nearly every Mitch trip we have taken. It’s like we almost expect it now!!
~ Who stays on top of where the next concerts are, both of you? Or do you wait to tell her after you figure yeah we can go?
Well the Dates section of the web-site is checked almost daily by each of us. I would say Lauren usually notices the new “possible” dates first. I guess if a concert is within range, we try to figure out ‘how we can make it’ instead of ‘why we can’t’! I find it pretty hard to say no! I think the only ones we kind of thought about but didn’t go to, were some shows in Tennessee.
~ Would you share some of your experiences from going to those concerts?
First off, every single one has
been special. With that said, I will give a few personal
We then seated ourselves at a front table. Pretty soon someone behind us asked if they could sit at our table and eat supper. We turned around and there stood Cobra Joe with a plate of food. Obviously we welcomed him to join us. We made some small talk, and I mentioned that I was going through a divorce and that this was my wedding anniversary. Joe has a big heart, and without saying a whole lot, I could tell that he really cared. It will always mean a lot to me that he sat down with us that night. The show itself was a bit ragged, for which Mitch later joked about and apologized! That didn’t matter because it was a great trip that we will never forget. I think that was the night Lauren and I realized that we were on a mission of some sort!
One of the best trips we took was Lauren’s birthday trip to Oklahoma City and Dallas last October. We found cheap plane tickets, cheap motel rooms, and a $15/day rental car. We started the trip by visiting the site of the tragic Oklahoma City bombing. It was extremely moving. Next, we took in the concert in Norman. As soon as we walked in, Cobra Joe saw us and immediately came over to greet us. He also asked me about the divorce and stated that he had been thinking about me. I was really amazed because we had only briefly spoken about it over a month earlier. I knew he had seen many faces in many places since our chat in Wausau. I was just really taken with his concern and compassion.
The warm-up act, Aaron Courter was really fabulous, and we hope he has a recording available sometime soon. After the performance, we talked to Brad some and had him sign a Tin-Man publicity picture that we had brought along. Lauren LOVES that song! We also had Joe sign a “This Train” CD for us. (“This Train” is Joe’s other band, and their CD’s rate five stars in my book!)
The next day we drove to Dallas to a bookstore for what was billed as an autograph session. We were totally unprepared for an impromptu concert, but that’s what we got! Mitch sang Rich’s “Bound To Come Some Trouble,” and No, Not One, among others. Toward the end, I slipped Mitch a piece of paper requesting he sing “Happy Birthday” to Lauren. He kind of looked at it and then played something else. I was kind of worried he wouldn’t play it! Lauren didn’t see me hand him the note, so when Mitch finally did sing to her, she was quite surprised! (There was a guy video taping, and he was nice enough to make us a copy, so we were able to share the experience once we arrived home.) Afterwards, Mitch told Lauren to remind him later because he had a birthday present for her. Lauren’s eyes sparkled!
That evening at the concert they let us sit in the front row. Mitch came out before the show and gave Lauren an advance copy of “Chasing the Horizon” PLUS a Milky Way bar. It was so neat- we were both astounded that he would give her the CD so far in advance of its release. He even hand wrote the songs on it for her. I guess the Milky Way was just in case she didn’t like the CD!!
The next morning, as Lauren woke up, I was gobbling down a candy bar. I kind of pretended it was “THE” Milky Way bar. I’ll never forget the look of terror in her eyes!! I had to calm her down and assure her it was a Snickers! “THE” Milky Way currently resides in a place of honor in her bedroom.
Concert #7 was the first one where I was able to convince my son to attend with us. He wasn’t crazy about the idea. He was 9 at the time and whined all day about having to go. Before the show, Mitch came out and shook hands with him, and they discovered their birthdays were only a day apart. After the show, I asked the guys if they would pose with Lauren and Alex for a photo. Right as I snapped it, Joe picked up Alex, surprising him. The picture turned out great and I blew it up and have it hanging on my wall. This was the first concert where Mitch had the Compassion table and we were able to sponsor little girl in Kenya that shares Lauren’s birthday.
Concert #8 was in Elkhorn, WI and my mom went along. After we arrived, Brad came over to our table and told us they had decided to participate in that evening’s 1000 Kid’s concert in Elgin. Well, we decided we would have to go too! The guys had to tear down in short order to make it to Elgin. We then had a “wild goose chase” down to the concert. I believe there were five cars that followed Mitch’s van to Judson College. The spontaneity of the whole thing was exciting. It was a really fun evening as we got to hear some truly unique bands along with a great performance by Mitch and the guys.
The next round of concerts was my Christmas gift to Lauren. It started out to be a trip to see Brad’s Appalachian Christmas Quartet. Before we left, I told Lauren that Mitch was playing In Kansas City on Friday night, so we should stop and see the show. Well, that didn’t meet up with any resistance! It was just Mitch and Cobra Joe, but it was a truly memorable show. Mitch really connected with the crowd. Satellite Soul was also there, and we are growing to really enjoy them as well. During a break, a gentleman tapped me on the shoulder, and introduced himself as Mitch’s dad. He was extremely nice and we chatted for 5 or 10 minutes. I took my friend Kahla along, and she really enjoyed her first Mitch concert.
The next night we had to choose between seeing Mitch or Brad’s band. We finally decided to see Mitch again because we found out that Brad’s band would be playing Sunday morning at a church in Wichita. The drive through the Flint Hills was beautiful, and Mitch later told us that he wrote “Burning the Fields” while making the same drive. Mitch and Joe were once again in top form on Saturday night. We also were able to meet Mitch’s mom. She seemed very surprised when I asked if her and Doug minded posing with Lauren for a picture. She said, “No one ever wants our picture!” They operated the merchandise table all evening, and it was fun seeing them there. Mitch played a new song titled “Midnight in Madison.” He told a hilarious story about playing it for his mom and dad for the first time. Apparently they were initially less excited about the song than he was! Lauren and I really enjoyed it though, and hope to hear it again someday.
The next day, we attended church in Wichita and witnessed Brad’s Appalachian Christmas Quartet. They really caught me off-guard. I expected them to be good, but they were astounding! I can’t wait to see them again next season.
The Rockford, Illinois show was the second time I was able to take my son Alex along. Lauren also took a friend. Mitch told an incredibly funny story about how they drove all night to get there. It involved a rainstorm, bad wiper blades, and tube socks- you’ll just have to use your imagination! We had to drive home through a blizzard, and that was a bit scary, especially since it was the same highway that Mitch and Rich had their tragic wreck.
This past weekend we were able to venture up to Dearborn, MI. Mitch played a musical opening for James Bryan Smith, the author of the Rich Mullins biography, “An Arrow Pointing To Heaven.” He is a very articulate and inspiring speaker. Mitch played 5 songs each session, including a couple of new ones. It was the first time we had heard Mitch play solo and that was a joy. Saturday evening, they presented a full concert, which was fantastic as always. There was a large crowd and they seemed to enjoy and appreciate the concert and the message.
~ Very personal, but witnessing is cool.. can you describe at all how your relationship with God is growing, if it is? Mine is very much growing. I trust more, I love more, I can not be closer to God more, kinda feeling.. and my thirst to know God more is unquenchable.
Yes this is very personal and
my spiritual feelings have always been hard for to put
I have never been a student of the Bible, and have always had trouble associating my life with these ancient people and events. Yet there was always this seed of hope and faith inside me. Mitch watered that for me and now it is healthy and growing. I guess God realized that he was going to have to use music to truly connect with me… enter Mitch!!
~ How about your relationship with your family and friends ~ notice any changes?
Yes, I am working on being a better friend and being a better listener. I still fail at many things, but I am more aware of these failings and try to concentrate on improving. I have shared Mitch’s music with many of my friend’s, and several have taken an active interest. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother (who has been praying for me for years!) I continue to build bonds with my 10-year-old son. He and my daughter have two distinctly different personalities. I know he has a strong faith, and we do talk about God. I know the divorce has caused some confusion in his life and I pray that we can continue to build a strong father-son relationship.
~ Obviously the music has touched you. Can you explain how it makes you feel?
Mitch’s message is one of love, faith, and hope, and that is what I get. True nourishment for my soul.
~ What are some of your favorite songs done in concerts?
“Gospel Rain”, “Solid Rock”, “When
You Love”, “Upside Down”, “My Deliverer”,
~ Do you have a favorite Brad song?
I think I have heard 3 different ones. I really like “Tin Man” and “Mighty Joe Louis.” To be honest, I think I only heard the other one once, so I need to hear it more. He obviously has song writing skills and has a unique perspective on things. I enjoy his sense of humor- the line in “Tin Man” about the shoes always cracks me up! We can’t wait to buy his upcoming CD. I know it will be excellent.
~ Is there a song you sometimes feel you need to hear?
“Burning the Fields,” since I need to continue to be re-made and re-formed. I love Mitch’s analogy about being burned and the image of the new sprouts of grass poking through the blackness.
~ Is there anything else you want to share?
It is fantastic to see Lauren so eager to share Mitch’s music and message with her friends. She has gotten many of them excited about it as well. We have taken several of them along to concerts. One of her best friends does not believe in God and I know it is Lauren’s mission to bring her into the fold. She has agreed to attend the next concert with us. It’s just a wonder to see God working through Lauren, especially after her initial resistance about going to see Mitch!
~ Is there anything you want to tell Mitch that you haven't yet? Or the other guys for that matter?
Just a big thank-you for doing
what they are doing. I am sure it gets lonely and tiresome out there
on the road. The guys always give 110%, then hang around for the
fans afterwards. They are always cooperative with requests and pictures,
etc. We always leave the concerts with a smile and the overwhelming
sense and presence of God’s love. This experience has helped change
the direction of my life and I think Lauren’s as well. I look at
my existence in a different light now. By us crossing paths, my own
path in live has changed for the better. My relationship with
my daughter has been elevated to a new level. How can you thank someone
enough for those types of things? Just saying “thanks” seems inadequate.
Brian's children ~ Lauren and Alex with the guys in Lewiston, Illinois
Brian's family with Mitch: Lauren , his Mom & Alex
email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
obtained from mitch for sound/picture files used