Casting Crowns travels the world to play music and spread the gospel. The group is, from left, Hector Cervantes, Chris Huffman, Juan DeVevo, Melodee DeVevo, Mark Hall, Andy Williams and Megan Bryant.
Rockers with a higher calling
In just three years the Christian group Casting Crowns has rocked the music scene, picking up 10 Dove awards, an American Music Award nomination and a 2006 Grammy.
With the All Hawaii Inter-Church Choir:
» Place: Stan Sheriff Center
» In concert: 7 p.m. Friday
» Tickets: Free
How has this affected their lives?
"The only thing that really changed about life is that life has gotten busier," said Andy Williams, the group's drummer.
All the group members are still involved with their churches, playing with youth bands and some even teaching Sunday School, Williams said.
Most of Casting Crowns -- Hector Cervantes (guitars/vocals), Juan Devevo (guitars/vocals), Melodee Devevo (violin/vocals) and Chris Huffman (bass) -- moved to Georgia from Daytona Beach, Fla., when frontman Mark Hall got a job as a youth pastor. Williams and Megan Garrett (keyboards/vocals) joined the group in Atlanta.
Williams stepped in when the group's drummer -- Hector's brother -- left in late 2002. "I was supposed to be the interim drummer," Williams said. But by January 2003, he felt "that was what I was supposed to do."
He added, "In March 2003, we signed as a band."
Since then the group has hit platinum status and produced three albums: "Casting Crowns, "Live from Atlanta" and "Lifesong," which includes a touching song dedicated to Erin Browning, an 11-year-old fan who had bone cancer.
"She sent us a videotape of herself dancing to 'Here I Go Again' (off the group's debut CD)," Williams said. A year after Erin died, the group was "blown away" by the faith of Erin's mother, who came to one of their concerts, still believing that God was sovereign and just. Hall wrote "Praise You in this Storm," which the band recorded. The song reached No. 1 in March on the adult contemporary chart at www.christianmusicweekly.org.
"I know if I wasn't playing Christian music, I could not handle being away from my family," said Williams, who has a 2-year-old son. "God's the only reason I get through being away from home so much.
"We try to answer all our e-mails personally," Williams said. "(But) I'm behind," he added, laughing.
The group recently finished its "Lifesong" tour and will be going to Africa in July for more concerts and mission work.
"I firmly believe that God has called each and every one of us to the band," Williams said. "Only God himself could bring (people) with such different interests together."