Christian recording artist Mark Schultz to perform Wednesday at Fall Festival

BY TERRY MATHEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor

Sept 10, 2007 - When Sulphur Springs resident Tom Rost saw a DVD performance of contemporary Christian artist Mark Schultz about a year ago, he decided to do what he could to bring Schultz to the area for a live show.

�God called Tom to bring him here,� said Rost�s wife Suzy.�

The Rosts are underwriting the costs of Wednesday’s performance in the auditorium at the Hopkins County Civic Center. All profits will be given to the Chrysalis House, Mrs. Rost said.

Evidently Schultz’s performances have that effect on a lot of folks.  According to his website, Schultz is one of the Christian format’s core artists with seven chart-topping hits. His “A Night of Stories and Songs,” won the 2006 Gospel Music Association Dove Award for longform music video of the year and he recently earned the number 1 spot on Billboard magazine’s Hot Christian Adult Contemporary Songwriters list. Schultz is also making waves in the world of mainstream radio with his crossover hit, “He’s My Son.”

Schultz, a native of Colby, Kan., and a graduate of Kansas State University, moved to Nashville with the intent of becoming a country music star.

�I became a professional writer,� Schultz says on his website. He served as youth director for the First Presbyterian Church and dreamed of playing the historic Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.�

With encouragement from his parents and members of his church, Schultz rented the Ryman for a show.

�Everyone at our church chipped in,� he says on the website. �You had moms that were bringing food and bringing the choir robes. I thought, �If I don�t sell this thing out, I�ll look like a big moron,� but at least it was on my own terms and I wanted to do it. If I failed, I failed, but I would fail doing what I wanted to do.�

Schutlz didn’t fail and as a result of the Ryman show, he soon had a record deal. Success followed, in a hurry.

�Sometimes, I�m really blown away. My first record didn�t come out until 2000,� he says. �To have seven No. 1 radio singles, it�s been a cool thing. When I walk out at a concert, I talk before I sing and it�s almost like I can feel the crowd breathe and we kind of come together. I�ve had people say they felt like I was in their living room, playing songs and telling them stories.�

Tom Rost’s connection to Mark Schultz was strong enough for him to tell his wife that he wanted to bring the artist to Sulphur Springs so everyone could experience its power.

�We want this to be a family time,� said Suzy. �From nine to ninety, this will be a good time for the whole family.�

Schultz doesn’t just tour and perform his music. He recently rode a bicycle on a 3,500-mile trek from California to New Hampshire, to raise money and awareness of widows and orphans.  During the ride, which began in May and ended in July, Schultz raised over $250,000 for the James Fund, a Family Christian Stores Foundation. 

�To ride across the country on a bike is something, but the real accomplishment here is what happens to lives as children and widows receive the benefit of the monies raised,� Schultz posted on his websiter after completing his coast-to-coast trek.

Schultz will bring his powerful message and considerable talent to the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center on Wednesday night. Tickets are $20 for reserved seating and $15 for general admission. Tickets for groups of 20 or more are $12 each and will be in general admission. Doors open at 6 p.m. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Call 903-885-8071 for more information.

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