Sanctus Real; Butler Springs Band rehersal!

I rolled out of bed, struggling against my own exhaustion, at 8am. I forced myself, painfully, to wake from the comfortable sleep I so enjoyed. My destination was worthy of such a cost – I had rehersal for the Butler Springs band at church. Butler Springs is our church’s week-long summer camp for 7-9th graders at Butler Springs Christian Camp in Hillsboro, OH. It’s an awesome week of worship, teaching, team building, fellowship, and outpouring. I went for two years as a middle schooler. Now I’m back for my second year as a leader of 10-12 middle school girls. Why, you ask, was I working with the worship band if I’m leading a group of girls?

That’s a fine question. I actually enjoy rap music a lot. Only rap that glorifies God, though…I just don’t see the point of listening to rap otherwise…it becomes noise. I digress. I actually tried my hand at rapping in my youth group – it was well received and presented an innovative worship form that the students enjoyed. So I talked to Josh Moser (our student worship leader) about rapping at our extremely popular summer camp. He agreed, and that brings me to today.

I arrived at church for rehersal at 10am. We proceeded to reherse til 2:30pm. The time passed like the landscape flashing by a speeding car. As soon as I stepped foot into the worship band’s “inner sanctum” – that is, an awesome room in what I’ve heard tastefully called “the bowels of our church” (the undeveloped, unused half of our church building that used to belong to NCR) I felt like I was in a beautiful dream. Ambient lighting illuminated the rug-covered carpet, strewn with chord sheets and cords from instruments and Avioms. I didn’t even know what an Aviom was until today!! I actually got fitted with my own pair of in-ears, which I’ve never experienced before. It was pretty incredible – if you don’t know  what in-ears do, they allow musicians to hear the click track (the meter of the song) and also allow musicians to create their own mixes of the music playing (pretty much like their own monitor right in their ears). I would put on my in-ears and step into a world of beautiful music I couldn’t hear from the outside. In my ears was a blend of Josh’s vocals, Lukey’s strange, foreign, yet uniquely beautiful sounds, Miranda’s tinkering away on the piano, John’s amazing drumming ability, Kristi’s insane fiddling, and Alex’s guitar riffs. I sat and listened for a while, taking it all in. I eventually added my voice to the mix with two different raps in two different songs. I’m really excited to be a part of the band in some aspect throughout the week. They are truly talented people giving up a huge amount of time to lead middle schoolers in worship. I think that’s pretty cool.

Kristi told me as we were getting to head out, after we had spent an hour tearing the entire room down to prepare to bring everything to Butler, “Thank you so much for staying and helping us tear down,”. I don’t think she was expecting the temp to stick around – but I replied, “I just love serving musicians”, smiling. This is pretty much my life philosophy. I completely loved helping wrap cables, tear down burlap hanging from the ceiling (don’t ask) and moving instuments. Lukey, hearing this, says, “I’m going to teach you some words to help you interact with musicians bettter, as a rapper”. I was flattered, and grateful – “Thanks Lukey! That’d be awesome! I’m not a rapper -“.

And that was just my morning and afternoon.

An hour after I got home from rehersal/tear down in preparation for Butler, my mom and I got in the car and drove an hour to Hillsboro, OH. Yes, the same town where Butler Springs is! Weirdly ironic! Sanctus Real, my favorite band of all time, was playing at a festival for FREE!

Mom and I arrived and anchored our folding chairs in the best spot we could find – right behind the people in the VIP seats. We waited patiently into the show started, savoring our overly expensive festival iced cream. I told mom I was going to go check out the merch – really I just wanted to see the Sanctus guys. I tweeted at lead singer Matt Hammitt and drummer Mark Graalman to no avail; I was getting ancy with excitement to where they were around the festival. I couldn’t wait to say hi!

I wandered over to the little tent next to the stage, only to see a tall guy in a plaid shirt and TOMS sunglasses standing under it talking to a tech guy. I couldn’t resist.

“MATT!!!” I yelled.

No response.


The guy closest to the little barrier between Matt and I looked over, laughing because he’d thought I said “Dad!”. I explained to him that I was trying to get Matt’s attention – that I actually know him. “I promise, I actually do know him,” I said. He said, “I believe you,”, smiling, and walked over to get him.

Matt turned around, said “Angela!”, and walked over and gave me a hug. He asked me when I’m moving to Nashville! I told him four years, after I finish my Broadcasting degree at Cedarville. We talked about his unborn son and what he would name him (after his grandfather), my plans for college and the future, how you actually pronounce my last name, and a variety of random topics, including my foster brother Raulo, my dad’s job, and Twitter posts. I told Matt I’d just tweeted him, and he retweeted it to all his followers. We had an awesome conversation and he gave me one last hug before I walked away. I’m always surprised how easy it is to talk to him. I guess I figured it would be somewhat difficult with him being who he is – the lead singer of a band nearly everyone knows – whether you’re a Christian or not. They were Grammy-nominated, for Pete’s sake. I am so blessed by their friendship. Matt is extremely genuine.

If you’re wondering how I got to be friends with Sanctus Real…well…that’s a different story for a different day 🙂

I’d be impressed if anyone actually read this far.

I then proceeded to enjoy the concert – my favorite song being their classic “Everything About You” – I’m a big fan of old-school Sanctus. My favorite song of theirs of all time is “I’m Not Alright”, which they didn’t play 😦

The guys got not even halfway through their set when threatening-looking storm clouds appeared on the horizon and crept closer and closer. Matt saw the storm coming and played his uber-popular song “Lead Me”, telling the crowd the guys would need to stop playing while the storm passed overhead, but hopefully would resume shortly after.

Sadly, that wouldn’t happen. The storm was really serious – a bunch of Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were being sent out everywhere, including Hillsboro. A man grabbed the mic a few minutes later to tell everyone the concert was cancelled. 😦

I went home satisfied, however. I got to have a genuine conversation with Matt Hammitt, a man I admire greatly…how could it get any better?

“I sing for joy at the works of your hands. How great are your works, O Lord, and how profound your thoughts!” -Psalm 92:4-5


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