Last weekend we had the opportunity as a family to hear the a cappella Christian men's group GLAD in concert. A local congregation had brought them in to celebrate the dedication of a new facility, and admission was free to the public. We like free! And we have listened to GLAD for many years. So we loaded up the whole family and off we went.
If you're not familiar with GLAD, here's their website. The group formed in the seventies and has enjoyed moderate succcess over the years. They did not originally intend to be an exclusively a cappella ensemble, but when several a cappella tracks on their early recordings were met with exceptional enthusiasm, they decided to record a purely a cappella CD. It was their biggest success to date, so they stuck with the formula. In the last few years they have scaled back their concertizing to only about one performance per month.
The concert we saw was excellent. I was actually surprised there weren't more people in attendance. The sanctuary was full, but not packed, and we had seats close to the front. The only drawback was that the front pew was filled with what I assume was the church's youth group (the pew had been reserved prior to the concert), and I was dismayed and distracted by the behavior of these young people. They were right underneath the performers, yet for much of the concert they were talking to one another, texting messages and playing with one another like preschoolers in church. I couldn't believe that it didn't occur to them how rude their behaviour was.
I also didn't care for the couple of times in the concert that the group invited the audience to join in on a CCM (contemporary Christian music) song. We don't listen to a lot of CCM music in our house, although I do have a few artists I enjoy (such as GLAD!). But I am very much out of the CCM loop, especially these days. So while the audience (most of whom were members of the church hosting the concert) joined in vigorously, my husband, children and I just kind of looked at each other and shrugged. Now, if they had invited us to sing along on "A Mighty Fortress . . . ."
One thing I did like was that Ed Nalle, the leader of the group who is also a pastor of a church in Virginia, did not treat the concert like a worship service. He did share a few personal stories about either himself or people he knew, and there was plenty of quoting of scripture, but he didn't sermonize. That is as it should be. I have a pastor, and I have a church, and all I wanted to hear from GLAD was music. I appreciated that's all they saw fit to offer.
In case you have never heard GLAD, here's a video. I am not sure when it was made, but it has been around a while. The guys I saw in concert last week look a little older than the ones in this clip.