Top notch worship music team at Vancouver’s Festival of Hope
by Frank King
For King & Country, Ellie Holmcomb, Phil Wickham, The Afters and Michael W. Smith.
If you’re still looking for a reason to invite your non-Christian friends to at least one night of the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope, this lineup should be all the motivation you need. These artists, plus one more (to be announced) will provide the music for each night of the Festival, March 3-5 at Rogers Arena.
Two-time Grammy Award-winning For King & Country is made up of Aussie siblings Joel and Luke Smallbone. Their 2012 debut album, Crave, put them on the Christian music map and they followed up with 2014’s Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. The brothers have toured with Casting Crowns and performed two of their songs on Jimmy Kimmel Live. American Songwriter magazine called For King & Country “Australia’s answer to Coldplay.” Among their influences are U2, Switchfoot, OneRepublic and The Beatles.
Singer/songwriter Ellie Holcomb is the daughter of famed Christian and secular music producer Brown Bannister, who worked on albums by Amy Grant, White Heart, Petra, Kenny Rogers, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mercy Me and many more. With that kind of pedigree, it’s no surprise that Holcomb went into music herself. After issuing two EPs, her first full-length recording, As Sure as the Sun, came out in 2014. It was such a success that Holcomb earned a Best New Artist Dove Award that year from the Gospel Music Association.
Probably best known for the monster worship song “This is Amazing Grace,” Phil Wickham’s popularity has driven nine albums and world tours. Wickham’s latest album, 2016’s Children of God, is his first recording after risky 2014 surgery to remove a polyp on his vocal cords. Part of his recovery involved not singing, speaking or even clearing his throat for a month. The recovery’s success was proven by very positive reviews for Children of God.
Assertive, punchy rhythms and anthems make up the sound of The Afters, a two-time Dove Award-winning band with six albums and four top-10 Christian radio hits. The group, formed when all the members met while working at Starbucks, recently released Live on Forever, an album that invites listeners to find shelter and strength in God during times of tragedy.
Michael W. Smith, one of the most accomplished singers in the history of Christian pop music, has long been associated with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was among the musical talent at the 2014 Greater Toronto Festival of Hope and the 2012 Rock the River outreach in Ottawa.
During his 35-year career, Smith has recorded 16 albums and earned a remarkable 45 Dove Awards. And he’s never lost his passion for evangelism. “I think you can (tell people about Jesus) in a non-threatening way,” he said in a 2013 interview. “It can be pleasant and beautiful, and hopefully some great things will happen.”
Visit FestivalOfHope.ca for more information on the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope, including how you can prayerfully and financially support this ministry. And please begin praying for the people you want to invite to at least one of the three Festival outreach evenings.