This Past Weekend in Virginia
Sun., May. 7. 2006 6:05pm EDT
Virginia is for lovers, so they say. This past Thursday through Sunday, it was for lovers of Christian parody, as we played concerts in Brookneal VA, Richmond VA, Suffolk VA, and Harrisonburg VA. One notable example is Jenn "Superchick" Kipp, who attended her 50th and 51st ApologetiX concerts in Richmond and Suffolk. Jenn recently returned from a mission trip to the country of Belize and has now seen us in eight states and one province.
Not be outdone, Beth and Larry Davis also upped their record-setting number of states to 18 and 17, respectively, in Suffolk and Harrisonburg. Beth also holds the women's record for most ApologetiX concerts by a non-family member, with 71. Larry, her dad, holds the men's record with 68. Like Jenn, Beth also does some missionary work, going to Kenya most recently, and England and Mexico before that. If they're willing to go that far for missions, is it any wonder they'll go to another state for an ApologetiX concert?
Beth's friend Chelcie (Don't spell it "Chelsea" -- she hates that!) Grossman, who comes along on many of the Davis' ApologetiX excursions, is quietly running up quite a total of concerts herself. This time around, she came with her mother, Carla, to the concerts in Richmond and Suffolk. Chelsea has now been to 38 ApologetiX concerts in 11 states.
Our concert coordinator in Suffolk, Kenny Hydock, didn't have far to drive for Saturday's show, but he's done a lot of traveling too. Kenny is a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard and has been stationed in places as diverse as Alabama, California, and Alaska, before moving to Virginia. Kenny and his family hosted a cookout for us at their house before the concert.
Our drummer, Jimmy "Vegas" Tanner, had a virtual family reunion in Suffolk. Not only did his brother- and sister-in-law and their kids attend, but also his mother, father, wife, and kids.
Of course, we had plenty of people from Virginia in attendance, too, including some with very interesting backgrounds. John Lewandowski, who ran the merchandise table for us Thursday, worked for Marvel Comics in the 1980's and 90's. Jay Murphy, who attended the concerts Thursday and Sunday, worked for the New York Mets during their 1986 world championship year.
Both of those guys were of particular interest to ApologetiX lead singer J. Jackson, a former comic-book collector and former baseball fan (O.K., he's still a baseball fan ... make that former Pittsburgh Pirates fan :), who pulled as much information out of them as he could after the concerts. Jay even wore his World Series ring to Sunday's show so J. could see it.
One of the fans who attended the Suffolk show first saw us in concert while he was in prison. We did a show at Marion Correctional Institute in Marion OH in September 2003, and he'd watched it on simulcast. Now a free man, he does prison ministry and uses ApologetiX CDs as part of his outreach. Another attendee in Suffolk bought our entire supply of "All the Stalls Stink" buttons for his youth group, because it's a song they sing together.
Thursday's show in Brookneal was held on the former estate of famed patriot Patrick Henry (the "give me liberty or give me death" guy). The Patrick Henry Plantation is now a center for troubled teens, and the concert was especially for them and their host families. Earlier that day, we went mountain climbing -- with our van and new trailer -- up and down the impossibly steep mountains of West Virginia. It's a good thing our bass player, Keith Haynie, had new brakes put on it before we left. Don't you just love that "new brakes" smell? Thanks for playing "Tinker" to our little Speed Buggy, Keith!
Thanks also to:
our concert coordinators: Randy Williams (Brookneal); Jeff Mills (Richmond); Kenny Hydock (Suffolk); and Alan Eby (Harrisonburg).
our merchandise coordinators: John and Guy (Brookneal); Jenn (Richmond and Suffolk); Carla and Chelsea (Richmond); Kristin, Ian, Rebecca, Melissa, and Charlene (Suffolk); and Linda, Rhonda, Michelle, Kelsey, and Jennie (Harrisonburg).
our roadies: Sarah, Missy, and Candy (Brookneal); Kaitlyn, Casey, and Stephen (Richmond); Sean and Tyler (Suffolk); Larry and Beth (Suffolk and Harrisonburg); and a cast of thousands in Harrisonburg.
our soundmen: Warren (Suffolk) and Larry (Harrisonburg).
our radio station support: Jimmy Griggs at American Family Radio (WAUQ) in Richmond VA.