This is a continuation of my post from yesterday.
Once, when I was touring the country with a traveling stage show, I was backstage talking with the custodian at a school where we were performing. He was telling me about some of the various entertainers who had performed there in the past and about some of their behavior. According to this custodian's words, the worst groups that came to play in this auditorium had been the southern gospel groups. He said that they behaved awfully and left all sorts of trash including many beer cans behind.
I can't vouch for the veracity of this man's story and his motives for telling it. This is just what he related to me. He didn't say how many of these groups came in and did this or if it had only been just one. The point I'd like to make is all of us are judged by others, especially in our professional lives. If this story was true, then the people on whom the story was being told are responsible for having set a very bad example before this one man who probably told this story over and over. I'm sure I'm not the only one to whom the story had been told.
When I signed the contracts with the agency that represented Greg X. Volz and Mark Farner, I was doing so on good faith. Their music was very good--I knew this because I had followed both artists and owned many recordings from each of them. But I had no inkling of what they were like as people. I was very pleased with the relationship that I had with the agency so far and because the bands were close by and had open dates, I was given what I thought was a very reasonable price for the bands. I had every reason to expect a high degree of professionalism.
The concert itself was fantastic. Very few tickets were sold at the door--I was losing my shirt on this concert. But the few hundred in attendance for the most part really enjoyed the evening. One church group of about twenty did get up in the middle of Volz's opening set because he performed a mesmerizing version of Aerosmith's "Dream On"--they were offended because he had performed a secular song. Greg's set would have been a great concert in itself. It was slick and professional. Then when Mark took the stage he commanded the rest of the evening with the talent that had made Grand Funk such a popular band. In one way I was wishing that it wasn't my concert and I could just be sitting there enjoying it. Then on the other hand, I was proud that I had been responsible for putting together such an amazing event.
Then it was all over. The audience was gone. The crews scurried to pack everything away. I was busy paying people and helping to breakdown the equipment. In the dim light of one side of the stage I could see Mark Farner gathered with a small group of people. They were audience members who had accepted Mark's invitation at the end of his set to come up afterward if they wanted to know more about Jesus Christ. As I worked I would periodically glance over at the small group. One was a burly guy who looked like a biker who had a hard looking biker chick with him and then there were three more rock and roller long hair types. Eventually I could see them all on their knees praying.
Later, I thanked Greg and his band--I had barely had any opportunity to talk to any of them--and they were on their way back to Nashville. Mark came to me to thank me for everything I had done and I told him what a great concert it had been. I never gave any indication how much I was hurting inside because of my failure in successfully promoting the concert and because I had lost what to me at the time was a lot of money. We shook hands and he quietly told me that tonight five people had come to Christ. At that moment I looked in his eyes and saw not a figure from rock and roll history, or an artist I had hired to perform a concert, but a brother in Christ. Standing before me was an extremely humble and gentle soul who had come to Knoxville to do a job and it was a job well done.
A couple of weeks later, I received a letter from Mark's agency thanking me and letting me know that they would like to work with me in the future. Enclosed was a check for a thousand dollars from Mark Farner. He had been impressed by my attitude. I had not paid Mark and his band and crew too much more than that to come to Knoxville. Mark had probably lost money on the venture as well. But of course there were the five people who came to Christ that night.
I am going to have to apologize for this and hope you will indulge me. I had not expected this story to run as long as it has and I would like to postpone my piece that was scheduled for tomorrow and finish this story I've been telling. I hope you will stay with me on this. It's a good thing I didn't get into detail! There is so much more I could have told.
Are you a fan of Grand Funk Railroad and Mark Farner? Have you even heard of them? What about the Christian rock group Petra? Greg X Volz? What was your favorite line-up of Petra--with Volz or a version that came later? Should entertainers who are Christians perform in places like bars? What are some of the Christian oriented concerts that you have attended and how did you feel about them?