Friday, March 18, 2005

March Madness

House of Germs

It's been a wild month at the Howies. First, Chris became very ill - 102.3 fever, sleeping 20 hours a day, looking like death warmed over. After a quick trip to the local doctor, he was diagnosed with Strep and given a drug regimen.

One week later, Tom came down with similar symptoms, but did not have Strep.

Jon was home from college for Spring Break that week, and the day after we returned him to IWU he became very sick. A trip to the Health Center landed him in the hospital ER with Mono and dehydration! So, he's home recuperating.

(Blessings on the head of Laura, Jon's lady. She has been so great during this!)

Cathy has, so far, dodged the ubiquitous germs floating around our domain.


Cathy is, at this moment, leading worship for the Bridgeway Church's Women's Retreat. This is the third Women's Retreat she has attended this year: first the Keynote Women's Retreat, then the Trinity Church Women's Retreat, now Bridgeway.

With all the learning she has undergone in the past few months, her frontal lobe has been growing!

March Newsletter

We're working on the print edition of our March Keynote Newsletter, so stay tuned!


Friday, March 04, 2005

Road Diaries

Keynote bands Piper Down and Chasing Elvis have both returned from their 2005 inaugural tours, so we want to give you their updates from the road!

Piper Down


"I’m sitting in a Panera Bread place reflecting on the very first Piper Down tour and our concert last night. Oh, for those of you who don’t know, Piper Down – formerly known as “New Rock Band” – is made up of:

"Seth – singer of songs
"Jill – elegance incarnate on the keyboard and other singer of songs
"Dan – ruler of the rhythmic beats
"Rob – swashbuckler of the Bass
"Matt – purveyor of the wicked sweet guitar riffs
"Laura D – master of the mixing board
"And Me…Sam – ludicrously good looking guitarist on the left side of the stage

"Life on the road with a new band can be pretty interesting. Sometimes you play in a room where all of the power circuits are wired to a light dimmer pack so that none of your equipment works unless you run all the light faders at full power and unplug the lights that are connected to those circuits. And sometimes the maintenance guy that has all of this info forgets to tell you until after you’ve run around the room for an hour trying to figure out what’s going on. And sometimes guys named Mark don’t claim their food at Panera Bread, and unwittingly feed hungry Asian guys.

"Our evangelistic concert last night with Student Venture went pretty well. We played at Lake Highland Prep High School in downtown Orlando. All of the sound/power/stage issues we were having (we couldn’t get the monitors to work; the power didn’t work quite right; I might have blacked out a few times and luckily didn’t fall over; Seth nearly lost his lunch on stage; Matt cut his hand again….etc etc.) were kinda frustrating, but I think it was Mike Anderson that once said that we should look at stuff like this as opportunities to place our trust in God, and have our faith in Him grow.

"Through everything that came up, God was right there with us, and He got us through the concert. I think this concert also reminded me that things like sound/power issues and people passing out during a concert won’t stop God from working.

"There were probably around 70 high schoolers at the concert, and even more during halftime of the basketball game that was going on next door to us. Seth did a great job of engaging the crowd and getting them really pumped up. I think we may have set a new record for stage diving at a Keynote concert. On our comment cards, 8 people said they were interested in speaking with someone about spiritual things, and 4 people said they wanted to get involved in a Bible study. Lee, our host, said he only recognized 1 of the names on the comment cards that had a box checked off. And at least 5 people said they liked Seth’s shoes. Some of the comments we got were:

“'That was hot dude! Ya’ll sing uberly cool songs!'

“'I have one more experience with God in my life now, and it will be cool to talk to people and tell them about it.'



"Piper Down at Southern Polytechnic State University, and Harvester something or other Church in Douglasville, GA. Basically…we’re in Atlanta, and we’re working with Atlanta Metro/Josh Irby, brother to our own Seth Irby.

"Our first concert was a lunch time cafeteria concert at Southern Polytechnic State University. There isn’t a crusade group on this campus, so we were there to help them get the ball rolling. It wasn’t a full on evangelistic concert….but Seth did share the Gospel…it was kind of in between an evangelistic concert and a pre-evnagelisic concert. I guess you could call it a Mid-evangelistic concert.

"The concert wasn’t your typical Piper Down fare. Because of noise issues, we were acoustic, and sans electric guitars…and bass,…and drums...and most of the screaming…and jumping…and flailing…we were practically naked up there, absent of the core characteristics that make a Piper Down concert what it is….it’d be like going to an IHOP and having your waiter say to you 'Sorry, we’re all out of pan cakes. Here, have some toast.'

"But all and all, things went alright. We had a pretty transient crowd, but at one time, we probably had 50 people or so hanging out. On our comment cards, 10 were interested in speaking with someone about spiritual things, 5 were interested in speaking with someone about beginning a relationship with God, and 10 were interested in getting involved in a Bible study. Josh actually got to talk to a group of guys for awhile during our concert, and by the end of it, he had a Bible study set up with those guys, ready to start next Wednesday.

"And then that night we played at Harvester (I don’t know the full name of the church) Church in Douglasville, GA. It’s the old stomping grounds of Mr. Seth Irby, and the current stomping grounds of his younger brother. We did an evangelistic concert for their youth group in the Gym. There were probably 30-40 people there, and 1 person said they wanted to get involved in a Bible study on the comment cards. Some of the comments we got were"

'I thought it was a good band and music even though I’m a little redneck.'

'I liked the show because it’s the only one I’ve been to that’s given me something spiritual to chew on.'

"Please pray for us as we’ve got 6 concerts in 4 days. Well, 2 of the concerts are acoustic 'no pancakes at IHOP' Piper Down concerts. So really, they should only count as half a concert each…so that puts us at 5 concerts in 4 days…but we have a few really late nights followed by early mornings. So those days should count twice as much….so, I guess we’re somewhere between 5 and 6 concerts in 4 days.



"So I didn’t find out until after I’d sent that last update that Josh, and some of the other CCC Atlanta metro staffers, got to have some pretty good conversations with people during the concert. Josh had the privilege of speaking with a Muslim student. I’m not sure about all the details of this conversation, but Josh seemed pretty encouraged by it. Josh said that he told the guy about Jesus’ resurrection, and that it was totally new news to him. He also mentioned that he got to have a pretty cool conversation with an Indian student.

"We played in a pretty small room at Kennesaw State last night. The concert/event, sponsored by Campus Crusade and the Kennesaw State resident life people, was a benefit concert for tsunami victims. Another Atlanta area band, Almost Heroes, opened up for us. I don’t know their story, or even how we got hooked up with them, but I’m pretty sure they’re not Christians.

"It was cool getting to connect/talk with them a little bit before and after the concert. We let them use our sound system and some of the equipment. My ears might have been playing tricks on me, but I thought I heard someone mention that the Almost Heroes guys appreciated us sharing a sound system and stuff with them, and felt like we were treating them like family. Oh, and by the way, kudos to Laura D for doing a mighty fine job of running sound for what I would call a hectic/stressful situation.

"There were about 60 people there, and it looked like Josh and some of the other staffers were getting to have some pretty good conversations with students outside of the usual Crusade circle. I would call our set a pre-evangelistic concert, but we did get pretty close to the boarder of an evangelistic concert…then again, I don’t really like labels. Wasn’t it Kierkegaard who said 'If you label me, you negate me.'….?....hmmm

"No one checked any boxes on our lovely blue comment cards, but we did raise about $140 for charity, and about 6 people said they thought I looked like that guy Rufio in that movie 'Hook.'…which is weird because most people tell me I more closely resemble an Asian Denzel Washington. I don’t really see it, but who am I to argue?

"I think this concert might also have been the first time in a long time that I actually felt…heartbroken for the people we’re trying to minister to. I could be totally wrong, but it seemed like the general vibe in the room wasn’t that people had never heard about Jesus, or what he’d done to save us, but that they were pretty apathetic about any thoughts on God, or just didn’t think they needed God for anything. It kind of made me mournful (I’m not even sure if that’s the right word) in a way that I can’t really articulate.

"We’ve got a concert tonight here in Clarksville. I’m not totally sure what’s going on, but it looks like we’re going to be sharing the stage with 5 or 6 local Hardcore bands. It seems like it could be a good chance to connect with the other bands. Please keep praying for us as I think feelings of frustration are something we’ve all been dealing with at some point on this tour, and for all different reasons. Please pray that we’d remain united as a team, and that we’d continue to rely on God instead of our own strength.

"I’m gone like New Coke and Crystal Pepsi.



"Sometimes, I like to sit in silence and see if I can hear God’s voice speaking in it. Tonight though, the only thing I can hear is a high pitched

"That’s the last time I don’t wear earplugs on stage during a concert featuring 5 Hardcore bands…and us.

"We were just one of the bands playing tonight at the Penny 2 …club?...I’m not really sure what to call it. If you asked me, it was literally a dark hole in the wall. It kinda looked like a dank concrete basement where an underground fight club would have weekly meetings.

"There were actually a couple other Christian bands there tonight, but this definitely wasn’t a Christian event. We were working with Randy, a youth pastor/friend of Seth’s, and we basically had 30 minutes on stage to do our thing. It was kinda weird being the “tame” band of the night. We were there to plug Randy’s youth group (which, incidentally, meets at the Penny 2), to let people know about our concert tomorrow night, and also to connect with the other bands/whoever happened to be there tonight.

"We’ve had this video camera with us on this tour, and we got the idea to make a movie (actually, I borrowed the idea from the Allert’s…the CCC staff persons in San Antonio). It’s kind of a 'Welcome to Our World,' - a look at the people we meet on tour, the people we’re trying to reach. Rob got some great interview footage with the owner of the Penny 2 and some guys from the other bands. He mostly just asked for their honest opinions on life, God, religion, whatever we might think of at the time, or whatever else might be on their minds.

"Rob’s interview with the owner of the Penny 2 ( I can’t remember his name, but I think it was BJ) actually opened up the door for a cool conversation about God and stuff…which is actually the other reason we wanted to do these interviews. Rob said that BJ seemed like he was searching, and that they talked about getting to start over with God, a grand mulligan on life if you will. Pray that this conversation would get BJ to keep searching for God, and that he’d keep considering Christ as the answer.

"We’ve got one more concert tomorrow night at the Coffee Cave before we head home, and then….hey, look over there…it’s a bird…



"60ft by 30ft. There’s a lot of stuff that’s pretty big and roomy that are also smaller than 60 x 30…like the inside of a twelve passenger van…mmmm, roomy…and Andre the Giant….big, and yet both are smaller than 60 x 30.

"But for some reason, playing a rock show in a coffee shop that’s 60 x 30 (that’s actually how many paces it is on the outside of the building) doesn’t seem so big and/or roomy. The Coffee Cave, though small in size, certainly had its wee little face rocked off last night. We played an evangelistic concert for a transient 20-30 people.

"Seth was telling us that the owners of the Coffee Cave are just starting to go through a divorce, and we weren’t even sure if this concert was going to happen. Seth seemed encouraged though and thought that our concert/message was just what Dawn (the owner) needed to hear at the time. If you wanted to say a prayer for them, that’d be swell.

"Seth also got to talk a little bit with Matt, one of the guys in the band that played after us. I don’t know what they talked about, but on his comment card, Matt wrote 'Thanks for explaining God in the only way I understand – music.'

"To be honest, I’m not totally sure why we were there. Maybe it was so Seth could talk to Matt, or maybe we were there for Dawn, or maybe we were there to show that kid with fangs that you can have a fun time with normal teeth. But I’m trusting that God had us there for a purpose, even if I can’t see it right in front of my face.


Chasing Elvis


"Greetings from the commonwealth of Virgina:

"I figured it was time to send an update on the last week in the life of Chasing Elvis.

"Our show at Ft. Jackson in Columbia, SC last Sunday was awesome! The room was packed, with people sitting in the aisles and standing in the back, with about 700 total. After the concert, the comment cards showed that over 30 soldiers started a relationship with God, and over 80 were interested in talking more about spiritual things. Praise Him!

"So far this tour we have had 2 concerts canceled. First ECU, then both shows at George Mason.

"Needless to say, we were disappointed, but appparently we weren't supposed to play. At George Mason, we woke up and it was snowing, and i think no one in the area knows how to drive in snow, so they closed the school for the day! We tried to play the next day, but to no avail. The operations department at GM didn't have enough people on staff that day to make our show happen.

"Tonight we are playing at Langley AFB. We would appreciate your prayers. Then tomorrow night we have a show in Williamsport, PA before heading home Tuesday.

"Thanks for praying!


We got some letters from students at recent Chasing Elvis concerts. here's what they had to say:

"hey everyone!

"i just thought you would like to know that the chasing elvis was HUGE SUCCESS! on a campus that is notorious for flops, especially with a huge
snow storm to taunt us, we managed around 200 people to come. 40% being crusade members! it was amazing! one person accepted christ tonight and many expressed an interest about God and crusade! i am blown away by Gods work and our team of dedicated members that worked sooo hard to make the event work. Praise God, He definately deserves it!


You can follow these bands on their websites:

That's all for now. We'll keep you updated on all the keynote news.

Keep checking back here!