Relay for Life 2011

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It’s 4:30AM on a beautiful night. Music is blasting, frisbees are flying. This is Relay for Life at the University of Louisville. 38 teams comprised of over 500 people gather to celebrate life and to raise money to fight cancer.
We walk all night to represent the fight cancer patients go through as they fight for their lives. At this point in the night we are all exhausted and count down the hours until this is all over. Knowing that we get to go home and relax in just a few hours if a relief. As I walk I think that if only cancer patients had it so ready. They don’t get to tag team someone else to fight for them. That don’t get to decide they’ve had enough and go home or fall asleep in a tent for a few hours break.
My walking had left me with a blister that may take a day or two to heal. That’s two days of hobbling around in pain, but then it’s over and done -a short-lived reminder of my own fight against cancer- if only cancer followed the same schedule.


Jammin’ in the ‘Ville – Winter Jam 2011

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I’m driving home listening to the radio and I hear an announcement for a concert starting in just a few hours. “What?!? That’s tonight?!?!” I yell to my stereo. Of course, the announcer didn’t hear me, so he continued to exclaim about the tickets (only $10 at the door, he shouts) and to re-list all the bands featured at the event.

Chris Sligh, Chris August, Red, New Song… the list goes on and on. So many great bands in one place. What was I to do?? Now, if you’re like my younger brother you’re scratching your head and going “who are these people? I’ve never heard of them before.”

New Song at Winter Jam 2011 in Louisville

I suppose I should explain a few things. These bands are amazing – if you like Christian music. I listen to just about everything.  I love music and a concert for $10 is just too much for me to pass up, especially when I had no other plans for the night.

The concert took place at Freedom Hall. Officially the show started at 7:30, but the place was rocking as soon as we walked in. That would be the pre-jam party, that I didn’t know about. It was nice. Chris Sligh was performing as we came in, then Chris August did a few numbers.

The tour made its 17th stop in Louisville. They will make a total of 43 (or 42??) stops before the end of the tour. The cool thing is that a friend of mine saw the show in Jacksonville, which I did not know until I was uploading photos on Facebook.

My favorite song, I must admit, was Candy Wrap. According to Chris August that is “such an embarrassing song,” but I loved it and laughed the whole time at the sheer silliness of it. It reminded me of being a five year-old and the best thing you could possibly have is candy for as far as you can see.

Fire effects during Red's performance. Amazing!

Red is a new favorite of mine as of tonight as well.  This band shows off the rock side of Christian music. I couldn’t get enough and this was before they lit up the stage with a fantastic display of pyrotechnics. Picture me scrambling for my camera in the dark and pushing the shutter button desperately to catch as much as I could of the band and their set. It presents an amusing picture.

New Song is another band I heard of tonight. I asked my sister who they were, because as usual my memory lapsed. She told me “Newsboys.” I looked at her and said “No way…. really??” Ok, I know who the Newsboys are, and granted they were there but not until later in the concert (as in, the end) but I still went with it. Of course, I know better now.

Tony Nolan at Winter Jam 2011 in Louisville

Band after band, the music went on. Tony Nolan, the guest speaker of the tour got up and told us a bit about himself and his history. He is such an interesting and dynamic speaker. He has a book out that sounded pretty interesting, but I didn’t end up getting it.

Of all people to send a message, Tony Nolan is a great choice. His history shocked me to my core. I never would have guessed half of the things he told us. He struggled from day one and now gets up and tells everyone about it. I’m sitting in my seat listening to him talk about being adopted into an abusive family in a bad neighborhood (very near where I grew up) and getting into drugs and alcohol. As I sit, I am thinking, all those people out there who have no idea how to find the good in themselves, just need to look at Tony here to see that the floor doesn’t keep dropping out from under you.

It seems like sentimental nonsense when I write it here, but being there was very powerful. Everyone can take a message away from it, even if it’s as simple as “don’t be so hard on yourself, everyone is human.”

David Crowder and band put on a "hoe down" while playing in Louisville.


David Crowder talking to the crowd at Winter Jam 2011

Great music, a fantastic speaker and stunning effects – all before intermission. There was a talk about helping orphans with Holt International. The stories were moving and if I were anything other than a broke college student, I would have considered sponsoring a child. Alas, I am not. Instead I applauded the people who lined up to do so.

KJ-52, a hip/hop Christian band pumped everyone up for the second act. Kutless made their appearance with a slow start, but got around to playing some songs I loved.

My sister and I decided to go out and check out the merchandise tables. I bought some CDs and looked around. Chris Sligh was the only artist I noticed out at the tables greeting fans. I thought about stopping to say hello, but even with the concert going on there was quite a crowd around his table. We passed.

Multiply this by eight or so. One of the reasons we left a bit early... we did not want to fight traffic to get home.

Always in an attempt to avoid traffic we leave early. I must admit, after viewing my friend’s pictures I am kind of disappointed that I missed Newsboys. From what I can see they had the drummer’s platform rigged so it lifted up, tilted and spun while he was playing. I really, really wish I hadn’t missed that. Next year, I am sticking around ’till the bitter end.