Accident solidified singerís determination

By BOB WITHERS - The Herald-Dispatch

You would think a near-fatal vehicle accident would persuade a man who tours for a living to find another line of work.

Not so with Mitch McVicker, a 28-year-old singer/songwriter who plans to bless Tri-Staters at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church Sunday night. It just made him more determined.

The accident happened in central Illinois on Sept. 19, 1997, McVickers says. The jeep in which he and performing partner/mentor/friend Rich Mullins were riding overturned. Mullins was killed, and McVicker took a year to recover from his injuries.

"I donít know how it happened," McVicker says. "I have no memory of two weeks prior to or after the accident."

But heís certain of two things.

"I know I have a much stronger sense of the Kingdom of God and of the presence of God," he says.

And he wants to tour in the Lordís name now more than ever.

"Touring has always been the backbone of what I do," he says. "I love to play music and I love to travel around the country and meet so many great people. Itís a privilege to have the opportunity to share my music and my heart with so many people in so many different places. Itís a blessing to point people to Jesus and expose them to the Kingdom of God."

So itís fun traveling around in that big bus?

"We have a minivan," he answers. "We cram all our equipment in there, which leaves three seats."

That barely accommodates McVicker and his two fellow singers -- Brad Layher, who plays the guitar and hammered dulcimer, and Joe Curret, who takes care of the drums and percussion.

McVicker, a Farragut, Iowa, native who grew up in Topeka, Kan., attends a church near his Nashville home that holds services every day during the scarce moments when heís in town. But, most of the time, he and his colleagues are on the road filling more than 150 dates a year -- to as far away as New York and California and at many points in between.

McVicker earned a bachelor of religion degree from Friends University in Wichita, Kan., in 1995 and began working with Mullins. Their first professional collaboration was titled "Canticle of the Plains," a play based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, in which McVicker held the lead role.