Review: Casting Crowns’ Until the Whole World Hears…Live

If you love the music of Casting Crowns’ spring release, Until the Whole World Hears, you’re going to love the live CD/DVD combo package set out today.

Until the Whole World Hears…Live includes an audio disc featuring eight of the original 12 offerings performed live.

The DVD provides a video scrapbook of the band on tour to promote the original CD release. Footage was shot at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina, the North Charleston Coliseum in South Carolina, and the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

As anyone who’s ever attending a Casting Crowns concert knows, the production is always top notch, and this tour is no exception. There are powerful renditions by both Mark Hall and keyboardist Megan Garrett, and Hall characteristically relates some great stories from stage.

The real treasures, though, are the special features.

Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the madness and mayhem that go on during the band’s “down time” in the clips “Laser Tag” and “Cornhole.” “Our New Drummer” introduces Brian Scoggin. There’s a segment devoted to the folks who pull off the production of a Crowns’ experience, aptly titled “The Crew.”

A poignant piece chronicles the 3 ½ year journey of the Hall family as they sought to adopt their fourth child, Meeka Hope.

At the top of the menu sits the music video for “Until the Whole World Hears,” certainly a highlight of the package.

Filmed atop a 20-story building in Birmingham, Alabama, it’s powerful and affecting– especially as throngs of people answer the call to “sing until the whole world hears.” The ending of the song, originally recorded in Hall’s home church of Eagles Landing First Baptist in McDonough, Georgia, during a regular Sunday morning service, gets special treatment in the video.

The band solicited churches and youth groups to send in videos of people singing the song’s concluding lines. The response was overwhelming, and a varied selection made it into the final cut. While there are several American participants, groups from Kenya, Singapore, Guatemala, and Brazil are included as well.

“Check out the group from Israel,” lead singer Mark Hall told his students on a recent Wednesday night when he uncharacteristically previewed the new video. “Look behind them. You can see the Dome of the Rock in the distance. Way cool.”

Hall typically does not sing Crowns music at the church, however. This is not where he performs, but, as most fans know already, this is most definitely where his songs are birthed.

“We’re really still a youth praise band,” Hall says nearly eight years after they exploded onto the Christian music scene. “All our songs come from this place. They are a reflection of what we see going on here in the church.”

In the case of “Until the Whole World Hears,” Hall’s stimulus came from his mentor Roger Glidewell, the executive director of The Institute for Global Youth Studies in north Georgia. For years, in his letters and emails, Glidewell always closed with that instructional phrase and the citation for Matthew 24:14. Hall and his co-writers spun that simple line into an anthem currently being sung, literally, around the world.

The life lessons and experiences Hall has walked through with his students not only influence his songs, but his sermons. A true “bonus” feature of the DVD is a special five-part teaching series where Hall delves into the Scriptures that support his life views. It’s a transparency shared by his bandmates, all youth workers as well, and their love for God ignites the emotional performances of this live set.

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Disney’s Night of Joy – A Time to Rock, Ride, & Rejoice

Walt Disney World’s 28th annual Night of Joy returns on September 10th and 11th to its original home at the Magic Kingdom with another eclectic musical mix, featuring 16 of Christian music’s top acts.

Friday’s Night of Joy line-up features the adult contemporary music of Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, and Tenth Avenue North. Fans of a more pop-influenced rock sound should check out perennial favorite BarlowGirl and newcomer Sidewalk Prophets. For devotees of rock worship, the David Crowder Band will be leading the way in front of Cinderella’s Castle at 7:45 p.m. Those into hip hop will enjoy Group One Crew will perform two sets, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on the Galaxy Stage. Hardcore rock fans will need to stay up late. Thousand Foot Krutch hits the Rockettower Plaza Stage at 11:30 p.m.

The energetic Family Force 5 will get the party started on Saturday evening with an invasion of the iconic Cinderella Castle Stage 7:45 p.m. Third Day is set to perform their ever-popular brand of rock, along with a preview from the upcoming Move release to the same stage at 9:45 p.m. Britt Nicole will grace the Rockettower Plaza Stage with her fresh pop stylings at 8:20 p.m. Grammy winner and minister Smokie Norful returns with two sets of worship-filled gospel on the Galaxy Stage, followed by rapper LeCrae, making his Night of Joy debut at 10:30 p.m. The evening closes with adult contemporary favorites Mercy Me once again taking over the Cinderella Castle Stage at 11:45 p.m. and rock band Red burning up the Galaxy Stage at midnight.
Be sure to catch the farewell performances of rock purists Day of Fire. As frontman Josh Brown moves into a producer role, we will miss these modern-day missionaries and their flair for a great rock show. Fans can give them a fitting send-off at 9:45 p.m. and 11:20 p.m. when the band takes the Rockettower Plaza Stage on Saturday.

The Magic Kingdom’s most popular thrill rides will remain operating throughout Night of Joy, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. With a packed park, however, expect some long lines.

Artists, stages, and times are all subject to change, so be sure to get a schedule upon entering the Magic Kingdom.

The after-hours event runs from 7:30 p.m. –1:00 a.m. each night, with early admission starting at 4:00 p.m. Advance ticket prices are $49.95 per night, $89.95 for a two-night package. Day of event tickets, if available, are $57.95 per night.

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