Feb 23, 2010

The Irish men of Bluetree travel to Virginia

by Camille Smith

Aaron Boyd, worship leader of the band Bluetree sat at a small table in the executive dining hall in Reber Thomas with his band mates, Conor McCroy, Peter Nickell and Peter Comfort.

“We are all from Czechoslovakia, and we’ve grown up there our whole lives,” Boyd said, his thick Irish accent wrapping his words.
“I’m actually from Estonia,” Comfort said, smirking with his bandmates.

“I’m from Poland,” McCroy said.

“Pakistan,” Nickell said before the table erupted into laughter. Boyd picked up an apple as a visual and continued.

“If this is the earth … the world revolves around a place called East Belfast, Northern Ireland,” Boyd said jokingly. “You know they say the wise men came from the East, and we’re not talking about New York.”

The Irish men of the band Bluetree joke incessantly, attesting to their laid-back personalities. While they enjoy a good laugh, they take their music and their message very seriously.

“I feel like we don’t want to come play at people, we want to facilitate a space where people can worship as the church,” Comfort said. “I suppose it’s amazing that you can come and go to 10 or 15 different states and it is still a church everywhere you go. Believers, we all have the Jesus thing in common.”

Bluetree has been nominated for a Dove Award in the New Artist of the Year category. They performed their number one song, “God of this City,” in the Schilling Center on Liberty University’s campus Saturday night during an almost three hour concert.

When not on tour, Bluetree leads worship at a church in Belfast called Exchange Church. The members of Bluetree consider the group a small local church worship band, who just has had the opportunity to play around the world.

“We love playing in so many different settings and denominations,” Nickell said. “We love it because you get to see a different perspective of how churches do things.”

As a band, Bluetree feels they exist to lead worship and provide music to the world. They approach each concert they provide not as just another gig, but as a “time of worship,” according to Boyd.

“What we do here can’t just be a holy pick-me-up and a feel good factor and all that kind of stuff. It has to be something more,” Boyd said. “True worship propels you outward … It is not about you and your emotions and how you feel and looking at yourself. It’s about a banner over your life declaring the goodness of God, speaking in the truth of who he is.”

While on tour, Bluetree supports an organization called Stand Out International (SOI). SOI is a nonprofit organization built on music, worship and justice that is a part of the growing effort to end child sex exploitation on a global scale, according to the affiliate Web site, viva.org. On this Web site, donations are accepted to further the reach of this organization.

“When we play “God of This City,” we ask people to give one dollar,” Boyd said. “Even in this economic recession, whatever the world says, what the Bible says is ‘Whenever there is famine in the land, my people shall prosper,’ and that is the word of God. No matter what the stock exchange says, God says, ‘Let God be true and all men are liars,’ and from that, give a dollar.”

The money collected from Bluetree concerts is put into the hands of people on the ground who deal directly with children in sex trafficking. The urgency Bluetree feels toward these children comes from firsthand experience during a recent trip to Thailand.

“The day leaving was really hard, all the girls … wrote all of us letters … and all of the letters had the same line in them: Please don’t forget us,” Comfort said. “Their parents were forgotten, their grandparents were forgotten, and we just can’t forget about them.”

“I see the Thai girls who are caught up in that industry and they are absolutely gorgeous,” Boyd said. “How much more would their faces radiate when they understand that the king of kings love them, that they are not hopeless, that they are not left on their own and that they have a future.”

Before beginning their set for those attending Saturday night’s concert, Bluetree stood in the Schilling Center auditorium and worshiped along with the crowd watching the opening band. They joked with those who noticed them, then made their way to the stage to sing their songs that, “are filled with simple (biblical) truths and nothing else,” according to Boyd.

Contact Camille Smith at

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