Friday, July 25, 2014

‘The Struggle’ tour comes to Liberty

Tenth Avenue North, Moriah Peters and Rend Collective Experiment played at a Student Activities concert Friday night.

The struggle — Lead singer Mike Donehey shared his testimony with the crowd in between songs. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

A line stretched from the door of the Vines Center all the way across to the DeMoss Hall bus stop Friday, April 12, as College for a Weekend (CFAW) participants and Liberty students prepared to see the latest Liberty University Student Activities concert, featuring Tenth Avenue North.

The Christian band played music from their previous albums as well as the band’s new album, “The Struggle,” and kept everyone on their feet most of the night. However, lead singer Mike Donehey’s multiple monologues about the band’s ultimate purpose made it clear that their concerts are not just about the music.

After the audience enjoyed both opening acts, Donehey spoke to the crowd about Compassion International, an organization that works to help children in poverty through sponsorship.

According to Compassion International’s website, the organization currently helps 1.2 million children in 26 countries.

The organization’s goal is to help children from other countries grow spiritually, as well as economically, socially and physically, according to compassion.org.

Donehey shared his own experience with sponsoring multiple children from Columbia and encouraged the audience to consider what the Bible says about helping the poor. Donehey explicitly said that the call to action was not designed as a guilt trip, but rather a chance to meet a child’s needs.

For those interested in the opportunity, Compassion International also had a booth in the back of the Vines Center with pictures of children from various countries so that attendants could sponsor a child at the concert.

“To put it in terminology a college student can understand, to sponsor a kid with Compassion will cost you two Starbucks mochas per week,” Donehey said.

According to the Compassion International representatives in attendance, the table remained busy all night with people who wanted more information or were considering sponsoring a child.

“I would say it’s probably the best-run organization I’ve seen,” Donehey said.
Throughout the night, Donehey also shared thoughts about the band’s history and his personal walk with God, including how his car accident — in which he broke his back — affected his faith.

Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

High school sophomore Milan Lewis said that she especially appreciated Donehey’s honesty about his faith.
“It was really on point, and his testimony was really powerful,” Lewis said. “The fact that he could have said all those things to God, but instead, he said, ‘I’m going to give this to God. I’m going to worship you through it,’ was really cool.”

Lewis and the rest of her CFAW group from New York arrived at the Vines Center an hour early and experienced the concert from the front row as a part of the mob of people surrounding the stage.

The night began with 20-year-old Moriah Peters and her acoustic guitar and continued with Irish band Rend Collective Experiment, which even featured an accordion.

“I like (Tenth Avenue North’s style of music),” Lewis said. “I really like their new album, especially their songs
‘Worn’ and ‘The Struggle.’”

Donehey and the band explored different areas of the Vines Center during the performance, even playing an acoustic set in the middle of the crowd.

As the band members walked off the stage at the end of the night, it took only a few seconds before the crowd started to call for an encore. Tenth Avenue North did not disappoint, playing three more songs before the concert came to an end.

According to the band’s website, Tenth Avenue North will continue “The Struggle Tour” through April 28.

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