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As part of its 32-city tour, the contemporary Christian vocal group Avalon will perform at 7 p.m. April 12 at Highest Praise Worship Center on U.S. 17 Bypass and Red Bug Road.
Joining the four-member vocal group will be singer Michael English and the bands Cadia and the Daniel Doss Band as part of the “We Will Stand Tour.” Doors open at 6 p.m.
The group’s most recognizable songs, heard locally on the North Myrtle Beach, S.C., radio station, 88.9 (K-Love) include “Testify to Love,” “Adonai,” “Everything to Me” and “Can’t Live a Day.”
Comprised of singers Janna Long, Greg Long, Melissa Greene and Jeremi Richardson, Nashville, Tenn.-based Avalon has been together since 1995, when their management company and record label decided to put the singers together as a group, sort of a contemporary Christian version of ABBA, according to Janna Long.
“Avalon is a straight-up pop group,” Long said during a recent interview. “Our most recent records have been a little more organic but also with some rock flair.”
Their latest album, “Another Time, Another Place: Timeless Christian Classics,” pays tribute to the Christian songs that inspired them to want to sing, including Amy Grant’s “El Shaddai” and Michael W. Smith’s “A Place in this World.”
“We are a pretty obviously a Christian group,” Long said. “More than anything we want people to be entertained and have a good time, but because we sing Christian music, we know that the lyrics have the ability to change people’s hearts and influence them. That’s our greatest desire.”
Married with families, group members take their children on tour with them, and Long says God has blessed them with opportunities to spread the word. They’ve traveled as far as Japan and have plans for a future concert in Nicaragua.
“It’s great,” Long added. “At any given point, we could have four kids under the age of 4 on our bus, but that’s how we wanted it. It’s not the most normal of lives, and it wouldn’t work for a lot of people, but when you feel called to do something, you do it. It’s worked for us so far.”
Highest Praise’s pastor, the Rev. Sherwood Lancaster, said the opportunity to have the “We Will Stand Tour” make a stop at his church was the result of a connection in Nashville.
Joe Piver, a former Ash resident who organized several outdoor Christian music festivals when he lived in Brunswick County, now works in Nashville in promotions. He works with Avalon. He contacted Lancaster and said he needed to fill a local slot on the tour.
Lancaster said his church has had success in the past with free concerts, and he agreed.
It was too late to jump through all the necessary hoops to make one of the tour stops a free concert, so the church decided to donate all funds to the academy. Since the stop was announced, many people, mostly from out of Brunswick County, have purchased advance tickets.
“Joe said the locals usually wait until the last minute,” Lancaster said. “We’ve got a lot from outside the county coming in. We’re expecting a good crowd.”
Lancaster said he has heard all four of the bands on K-Love, and they all have hits on the contemporary Christian charts.
Tickets for the show are $18 in advance or $22 at the door, and $10 for ages 10 and under. All proceeds will benefit Southeastern Christian Academy, the private school housed at Highest Praise.
To purchase advance tickets, call 754-4809 or email email@example.com for more details.
sarah shew wilson is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.