Christian Concert Volunteers
For a number of years my wife, Linda, and I have enjoyed volunteering for Christian concerts. Most of our work is done in Birmingham, however we have occasionally worked concerts in Huntsville and Nashville. We started our volunteer work manning various artist's merch booths selling t-shirts, CDs, etc. The last few years we have been working backstage as "runners". As a runner, you are typically at the concert venue for a 15 hour day. Your job is to take artists, band members, or staff where they want to go, or go do their shopping - basically anything they may need to have done, you are there to serve. While we typically do not ask for photographs, below are a few photos of some of the artists we've had the pleasure of working with.
Working With the Best
My wife, Linda, Jeremy and myself taken backstage at the Wight Center in Birmingham just before Jeremy went on stage.
This is David at a concert in Decatur. He had recently announced he would be leaving the Gaither Vocal Band and going out on his own.
Steven Curtis Chapman
We worked a merch booth for Steven at a concert at Von Braun arena.
Jordan is one of my favorite young Contemporary Christian artists. This is backstage at The Wright Center in Birmingham.
We were working back stage as runners for the Gaither Vocal Band in Decatur. I reminded Bill we had a photo together the year before. He asked if it turned out ok and I told him he had a funny expression in the photo. He said well let's take another one! He nailed this one.
Propst Arena in Hsv. Jordan came to the merch table and thanked us for helping out. When he go to me he stared... then remember me taking him to lunch in B'ham. He gave me a big hug and we talked a bit.
At this Nashville show we, along with our granddaughter, worked Jordan's merch booth. We really enjoy working with Rick, Jordan's merch manager.
Met Austin while volunteering with WAY-FM at a church in Athens.
Brian Hailey was TobyMac's drummer. We worked Brian's merch booth at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
This was the first time we met Bill. This is backstage during intermission. The band is playing for the 2nd half and Bill is supposed to be on stage right now...but he took time to take a picture with us.
At this show Micah opened for Jeremy Camp. Also met Micah last year in Birmingham at Winter Jam. Had to take him to the hotel to shower after the show. He is a super nice (and very humble!) guy.
Matthew Holt - Gaither Vocal Band
Matthew is the pianist for the Vocal Band. I had touched up a piano 2 weeks prior at a show in Gadsden and they asked me if I would plan to tune the piano for this show in Murfreesboro, TN.
Joel Smallbone - For King + Country
5-14-23 Took Joel to a restaurant in downtown Huntsville and then went back to pick him up.
Bill Gaither - Murfreesboro, TN Show
I worked a show in Gadsden, AL and took Bill to the hotel. I showed him a previous photo we had done and told him I'd lost 60 pounds and needed an updated picture. I got this one 2 weeks later in Murfreesboro.
Luke Smallbone - For King + Country
5-14-23 In Huntsville. Luke and his family were at the Space and Rocket Center before the show and I went to pick them up and bring them back to The Orion.
2-17-24 Winter Jam 2024 - Birmingham
Just before Cain went on for their set, they were backstage talking with Lacrae.
Jeremy Camp - Winter Jam 2023
Jeremy backstage at Winter Jam before he went on stage.
About to take the stage at Winter Jam 2024.
Lauren Daigle from side stage.
While I have a few photos of some of artists that we have had the pleasure of working for, most I do not have photos...but do have a few stories! Below are some of those...
- Lauren Daigle: Worked 3 of her shows (Chattanooga, Huntsville & Birmingham). At two of the shows we were able to stand backstage on the side and watch her sing. Much different prospective when watching the show from behind!
- The Collingsworth Family: Kim Collingsworth travels with her own Yamaha 7'6" grand piano. I have tuned for Kim on 4 occasions. I first met The Collingsworth Family at a concert they did at Lee High School a few years ago. I got a call from the concert promoter needing a piano tuner for this gospel group. I had never heard of them and so about an hour before I had to be at the school I thought I might should look them up on the internet and see if I could find anything. Boy was I shocked!! I found this family consisting of mom, dad and 4 grown kids and what a beautiful sound they had. Mom is the pianist and her talent is jaw-dropping, to say the least. I tuned for them at 3 more shows and actually had the pleasure to emcee two of those shows. Such a talented group!!
- The Martins: Picked up Jonathan, and later his sister Judy, at the Birmingham airport to take them to the Legacy Arena in Birmingham for the Gaither Christmas show. Jonathan and I got stuck in very slow traffic on the way back to the arena and had the best time talking. My only complaint was he kept saying "Yes sir" or "No sir". I finally told him if he called me "sir" one more time I was gonna put him out of the car! He politely informed me that if he did not say "sir" his momma would be all over him. That's how he was raised and it's how he is raising his children. When I picked him up I wasn't sure exactly who I was after. I had looked at The Martins website, but the artists rarely look in person as they do on their sites. After driving continuously around the airport looking for him I kept passing this one guy with a ball cap and camouflage suitcase and was sure that wasn't him. Finally I got his attention and sure enough, it was Jonathan. After I got him back to the arena, a while later I was talking with one of the tour managers and this really spiffy guy with slicked back hair walks by and pops me with a towel. I couldn't figure out who in the world that was...it was Jonathan. He cleaned up real good!
- Joel Smallbone (For King & Country): Took Joel and one of his brothers to lunch in Birmingham. (No, I did not eat with them...just drove.) Had met Joel one other time backstage in Huntsville while working a Skillet and King & Country show. Joel was on the phone most of the time talking to someone about the lighting for their show. It was interesting to hear him discussing details of what he wanted to happen visually in the show.
- Danny Gokey: Took Danny and a couple guys from his band to lunch in Birmingham. Big news that day was that Danny had led their bus driver to the Lord the day before. Danny and I talked about this when I went back to pick him up and he was excited about what had happened and said God's timing was just right and the driver was ready.
- Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band): I picked Wes up as he was dropping off a rental car in Decatur. Wes lives in Birmingham and had driven up to join up with the rest of the GVB for a concert at Decatur Baptist.
- Jen Ledger (Skillet): Jen is a fantastic drummer for the Christian Rock Band Skillet, but she also has her own band, Ledger. Her band was playing for a show in Birmingham and her entire band, along with instruments, piled into a packed out 15 passenger van and I took them to a hotel somewhere near the Birmingham airport. They had to fly out at 6 am the next morning for a show, Rock The Universe, at Universal Studios in Orlando.
- Crowder: Crowder was doing a show at The Wright Center in Birmingham and we were runners for this show. Several of us went out to Crowder's bus to watch him practice tossing cornhole bags. An audience member would later win the opportunity to play cornhole with him and he was getting warmed up.
- Jordan Feliz: First met Jordan at a show in Birmingham at The Wright Center. The tour manager came to me and had Jordan with him and asked me if I'd take Jordan and a couple of guys from his band to a restaurant. He warned me that Jordan was on strict vocal rest, although he would sing that night. I asked the tour manager if he thought I might be able to get a photo with Jordan at some point. He said he didn't know, but we could ask Jordan and see. Jordan nodded his head up and down...so off we went. When I went back to pick them up, as Jordan was getting out of my car he use a hand sign as if snapping a picture. I told him yes, but we'll get it later. That night Linda and I went out and watched Jordan's portion of the show and then went backstage. I saw several members of his band walk by, but no Jordan. I was sure he had long forgotten about the photo and was probably already on his bus. Just when I had given up I looked down the hallway and here came Jordan. When he saw me he again did his hand gesture asking about the photo. I got my photo!
- Jeremy Camp: At the Winter Jam show in Birmingham (3/2023) my wife, Linda, took Jeremy and a couple of his guys to the gym. After their workout she brought them back to the arena.
- For King + Country: 5/14/23 Was a runner for this show. I went to the Space and Rocket Center to pick up Luke and his family and bring them back to the Orion. Later that day I took Joel downtown to a restaurant to meet his wife and in-laws. Later went back to bring him back to the venue.
- Gaither Vocal Band: 10/14/23 I had worked a number of Gaither Vocal Band shows prior. Last year I was working a GVB show in Gadsden and took Bill Gaither and Todd Suttles (baritone) to the hotel to get ready for the show that night. (It's not every day I can look in my rearview mirror and see Bill Gaither!!) Along the way I asked what someone would need to do to get a show scheduled. Bill knew I lived in Huntsville and said it'd been a long time since they had been to Huntsville. He told me who to contact and so I did. Bill preferred a church but that did not work out, so I gave them the specs for the Von Braun Center Concert Hall. So they booked that show and I tuned piano for the Huntsville show.
2024 Shows We're Working... (Scroll down for previous years)
February 17, 2024 - Birmingham: WinterJam (runners)
April 27, 2024 - Madison: Jordan Feliz & Colton Dixon (runners)
2023 Shows We Worked...
January 27, 2023 - Huntsville: TobyMac (merch)
February 17th, 2003 - Birmingham: TobyMac (merch)
March 10, 2023 - Birmingham: Winter Jam (runner)
May 14, 2023 - Huntsville: For King + Country (runner)
October 14, 2023 - Huntsville: Gaither Vocal Band (merch and tune piano)
November 3, 2023 - Huntsville/New Market: Reggie & Ladye Love Smith (promoter - show cancelled)
December 17, 2023 - Nashville: Belmont University: Zack Williams (Eat & Greet)
2022 Shows We Worked...
February 24, 2022 - Huntsville: Were scheduled to work Casting Crowns, but they had too many volunteers so we just were able to watch the entire show.
March 12, 2022 - Birmingham: Winter Jam - Skillet, Tauren Wells, Colton Dixon, KB, I Am They, NewSong (runner)
March 17, 2022 - Huntsville: Zach Williams (Feed & Greet)
April 23, 2022 - Gadsden: Gaither Vocal Band (runner)
May 6, 2022 - Murfreesboro, TN: Gaither Vocal Band (runner / tune piano)
August 6, 2022 - Huntsville: Volunteer with WAY-FM for Casting Crowns
September 8, 2022 - Birmingham: Gaither Vocal Band (runner / tune piano)
October 29, 2022 - Huntsville: Jeremy Camp (merch)
November 4, 2022 - Cleveland, TN: Gaither Vocal Band (tune piano)