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April 12, 2014

NewSong coming back to perform in Tifton

TIFTON — Road Less Traveled is back at it again, promoting a free concert April 18 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, featuring Grammy-nominated Christian band NewSong.

Road Less Traveled is a nonprofit organization based in Tifton with the goal of exposing people to the word of Christ and educating Christians on a life full in Christ regardless of denomination, age, gender or ethnic background, according to their website. Their mission is to promote human development through Christ and to create unity in the community. They do this by providing events such as free concerts, Manna Drops, conferences and discipleship programs within the community. These life-changing events are made possible by people giving sacrificially to the ministry.

Natalie Underwood, who is the ministry assistant and event planner for Road Less Traveled, said NewSong was featured at their first concert in 2010. Since then, they have had Christian artists such as Michael W. Smith, Jeremy Camp, Adam Cappa, Francesca Battistelli and The Reggie Saddler Family. Underwood said last year, they hosted local pastors and church choirs.

The upcoming concert on April 18 will be their sixth event. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the concert will start at 7 p.m.

“It was a phenomenal experience when they were here before,” she said, referring to NewSong.

She said the decision to bring the band back to Tifton was unanimous by the 11 Road Less Traveled board members.

“The lord laid it out,” Underwood said. She explained that the board prayed about it, which they usually do when they get together and talk about what their strengths are and what they need to improve on. She said after they pray on it, the members gather together again to discuss.

Underwood said every concert that they present is free. However, when they hosted Jeremy Camp, they asked that attendees bring canned goods. They were able to collect about 20,000 canned goods, which were dispersed to local food banks, the soup kitchen, Salvation Army and Ruth’s Cottage.

Underwood said they usually do Manna Drops, which one drop amounts to 5,000 pounds of food. She said one box given to families holds enough food for a family of four to eat on for about a week. She said this year, they’re doing a Manna Drop every other month. The first one this year was in February. Underwood said they have partnered with different churches and organizations that are now doing Manna Drops in their communities.

NewSong was founded in 1981 and is best known to Christian music audiences as founders and hosts of one of the world’s biggest annual tours, The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, which is the No. 1 first quarter tour in the world for four consecutive years to date. Throughout its history, Winter Jam has featured Christian music’s biggest artists, introducing Christian music to new audiences across the country while providing a powerful platform for the Gospel message.

NewSong founding member Eddie Carswell, who is originally from Tifton, said in a phone interview that the band came about when he and the original members were living in Valdosta. He said he was working for the local university, and they all ended up going to the same church.

The current band members are Carswell, Billy Goodwin, Russ Lee, Mark Clay, Rico Thomas, Jack Pumphrey and Matt Butler. Carswell is the co-writer of the mega hit song “The Christmas Shoes,” which was originally recorded and made popular by NewSong. They will be performing another one of their signature songs, “Arise, My Love,” at the concert.

Carswell said it’s a great song to sing that Friday, which will be Good Friday. He said it’s about Jesus, the resurrection and the cross. He commented that it’s a year-round song.

NewSong has recorded 18 albums, garnering 20 No. 1 Christian radio singles and a Grammy Award nomination, among numerous other achievements. They will record a live worship album later this year. The band was also inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame a few years ago.

When asked why should people come out April 18 to the free concert, Carswell said, “I think it’s a great night for a concert. It’s Good Friday, the Friday before Easter. We’re excited about doing it and glad to be invited. Hopefully, we will have a great crowd and a great time.”

For more information, e-mail natalie@roadlesstraveledministries.com or visit www.roadlesstraveledministries.com.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

 

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