Mitch McVicker at the Message Room
April 20, 2009 — wickle 
It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned this, but Mitch McVicker is one of my favorite singers. This puts him in the company with Rich Mullins, Andrew Peterson, and very few others. Needless to say, I’m excited when he’s in town.

In town he was on April 17 — playing at the Message Room in Ella Bella’s Cafe in Rochester, NH. The boys (ages 10 and 12) and I went to see him.

This is a relatively-small venue, a comfortable place with more of a coffee house feel than a true concert hall. It was a nice place, actually. I admit that this is the first Message Room concert I’ve attended. I brought the two boys with me.

The opening band was True Witness, a New York-based band. They were quite good. This was the first time I’d ever heard of them, so I can only say that they’re worth a listen, and I’ll be keeping an eye on the Message Room for future appearances by them.

The Message Room, by the way, is an outreach program to make available Christian music. This concert series started at the Christian Worship Center in Barrington, NH; but holding concerts at Ella Bella’s in Rochester made them a lot more accessible to the public. There are people who won’t set foot in a church but might listen to a coffee house performance. If that gets people interested in hearing more, then it certainly isn’t a bad thing.

After the opening set, Mitch McVicker himself came out. He set up his last few things on stage, which included a table with large plastic coffee containers, a pink plastic flamingo, a pair of flip-flops, a hubcap, and several other odds and ends. Those would be used later.

The show was great. First of all, it’s important to remember that I love his songs. All of them. I know and love his albums, so I was right there singing along with him. (My apologies to the rest of the audience — what I lack in talent I make up for in volume, generally. I tried to keep some restraint.)

He talked about why he sings — he sees it as his calling. As he put it, “The last thing the world needs is just another Christian singer. But the world needs a lot more Truth, and this is how I spread the Truth.”

He also committed some time to talking about Compassion International, a ministry which he supports that allows people here to take personal care of a poor child somewhere in the world. Our sponsorship money goes toward food, schooling, and other care that the kids need, delivered by the ministry workers. Compassion is one of those charity groups with a great reputation for clarity and integrity — it’s not one of those 40-cents-out-of-every-dollar situations.

Then we came back to the songs. Several times, McVicker said, “It’s time for a participatory situation,” and went on to tell the audience how we were involved in the next song — singing a chorus, repeating a refrain, just snapping our fingers, or whatever. At one point, a man in the back of the room went into another chorus of “Partysong” when Mitch had begun the next verse. He stopped, looked up at the man, and said, “Yeah, that was good!” and went back to the chorus again before resuming the song.

He genuinely connected with the audience, which was a lot of fun. For my own part, I look forward to him being back in the area again.

Another note I have to add  about Mitch McVicker — the man answers fan e-mails. Not only personally, but promptly. I sent a quick note to him, and had a reply in hours; and then I shot him a comment after the concert and he replied that same night.

My advice? Check him out. If he’s touring near you, you should go. Check out his music page, too, see what you like. I’ve stopped trying to list particular favorites of mine, because the list was getting a little long to manage.