- By Shelanne Jennings
- Published: March 27th, 2012
Alumnus reflects on memories before performing with the Newsboys
For alumnus Michael Tait, who has left his stamp on Liberty’s campus and an even greater imprint on Christian hip-hop and rock sounds, returning to his alma mater still causes him to choke up.
For Tait, current lead singer of the Newsboys, returning to Liberty University for the God’s Not Dead Tour was summed up in one word: emotional.
“It feels so good to be in the nation’s greatest university,” Tait said. “And that’s a brother speaking from experience.”
“It’s overwhelming,” Tait said. “To see it grow, to see what this school has evolved into, is mind-blowing. It is the largest private university in the country, and that’s what Doc wanted.”
Tait took time to walk around and reminisce about old times, visiting his old dorms with the help of Director of Alumni Relations Tyler Falwell.
“My one dorm was dorm 6, room 110, but I think it was 108 back in the day,” Tait said. “My very first dorm back in 1986 was on dorm 8 where I met Toby Mac.”
According to Tait’s longtime friend and Liberty alumnus Marty Donovan, they actually knocked and visited the current room occupants.
“I think they were really caught off guard,” Donovan said, laughing.
After seeing the new features of campus, including the Snowflex Centre and upcoming Visitor’s Center, Tait took time to remember the man who held an instrumental role in his life by visiting the Carter Glass Mansion and Dr. Falwell’s memorial.
“Mike was very close to Dr. Falwell,” Donovan said. “For him to see Dr. Falwell’s office was important for Mike. And there was some time that we just left him alone. And then we went out by the gravesite. There was a sense of sadness, a sense of joy and a sense of pride, being an alumni from Liberty.”
“I’ll never forget it,” Tait said. “(Dr. Falwell) is a big part of how I live my life now.”
Looking back, Tait sees Dr. Falwell as a father figure to his life.
“I always would joke with him, calling him my white daddy,” Tait said. “I had such a heartfelt love for Jerry and Macel and the kids. It was just overwhelming.”
Tait’s career with Toby Mac and Kevin Max in the band DC Talk first performed for Falwell and his family.
“We started writing songs when we were in Dorm 8. We wrote a song called Heaven Bound,” Michael Tait said. “The first time we performed that song was in Jerry Falwell’s backyard by the pool. It was for Jonathan’s party.”
That first song then led to a career with DC Talk that would last into the 2000s. In 2009, Tait took on another musical challenge, joining the successful rock-pop band, the Newsboys.
“Peter Furler and the Newsboys asked if I could kick it with the band. I got there, and they said ‘to tell you the truth, we want you to join the band,’” Tait said. “It’s been wonderful. It was not something I ever thought I’d do.”
“We knew he would do a great gig and that he would be a great mate,” Newsboys longtime band member Duncan Phillips said.
The band shared the stage with City Harmonic, Abandon and, Liberty alumni, Anthem Lights. Joking and smiling with each other, Tait and the rest of the Newsboys showed the crowd just how natural the band’s transition could be.
“I couldn’t be any more different from Peter Furler. I look nothing like him. He’s a white guy with a bald head,” Tait said, joking about the Newsboys retired lead singer.
“We gave (Newsboys) a makeover,” Tait said. “Make sure the DNA mixes but remake it a bit.”
Compassion International sponsored the God’s Not Dead Tour. It also partnered with Bob Lenz and Life Promotions in an evangelistic presentation and included several video segments from I am Second media.
For more information about the God’s Not Dead Tour and the bands involved, visit www.newsboys.com.