The Woodward News

March 8, 2013

Sanctus Real ready for Woodward performance

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Folks planning to attend the Pregnancy Center concert at Woodward High School Sunday will hear a performance by a Grammy-nominated group.

Christian music band Sanctus Real is a GMA Dove award winner as well, with 6 albums, 18 singles and 5 music videos released since the group formed in 1996.

Lead Guitarist Chris Rohman said he and Lead Vocalist and Guitarist Matt Hammitt started playing together back when we were sophomores in high school.

 "It was 1996 when we actually named the band Sanctus Real, that was Hammitt, our drummer Mark Graalman, and me," Rohman said.

Their background led them to Christian music.

"I think it was a natural thing for us, we met at a Christian high school, we started playing on the worship team at school, so it was just natural for us to play together outside of school and writing music about our faith," Rohman said.  "That's just what we enjoyed doing. We enjoyed Christian music, at the time it was new and exciting."

Rohman some of their major musical influences as a band were Switchfoot and Audio Adrenaline.

 Audio Adrenaline, in particular, had a major influence.

"The guys in Audio Adrenaline actually had contact with us in school and encouraged us to continue on after high school with the band," Rohman said.

Much of the band's music draws on their personal experience.

"I think a common theme throughout most of our albums is the struggles we face in life, and the hope we have through our faith in Christ," Rohman said. "We try to express through our music how we rely on God to help us through tough situations."

Rohman said the band's mainstream sound makes them accessible to everyone, not solely Christan music fans.

"Our lyrics are from the heart, they're a natural outpouring of what we've experienced in life and the challenges we've faced," Rohman said.

Sunday's conceret which starts at 5 p.m., in the high school auditorium, is a stop on the band's Promises Tour - the title deriving from a song on their newly released album Run, a song that holds deep meaning with the band.

"What we really believe in is the promises God has given us in his word of the Bible and the need to hold onto those in difficult times," Rohman said. "The song was written lyrically in a time when Matt was faced with a tough situation, they got news that their unborn child would be born with a severe heart defect."

Rohman explained that during this time Hammitt received a lot of support from the church, one individual particularly who had been in a similar situation.

"He told Matt to cling to the promises, and that just rang true to us," Rohman said.

Rohman said the band was looking forward to playing in Woodward.

"Whenever we get offers to play places, we're always thrilled. When opportunity arises, we jumped on it, so we're excited to come out," Rohman said.

Rohman also offered some advice to aspiring musicians.

"When we started, we never set out with the purpose of being a nationally touring band or anything," he said.  "We were just using the talents we were given and trying to make the most of them.

"I think there's a certain amount of pushing you have to do if this is what you want to do. We really believe in the message we're trying to spread, and thats why we're here. To someone coming up now with a dream of playing music, I would say pursue it passionately if thats what you feel you were called to do and if its meant to be it'll happen in its own time."

Tickets can be purchased online at itickets.com, via phone at 1-800-965-9324, or in person at Paradise Books in Woodward. The concert will also include  performances by JJ Heller, Unspoken and Bread of Stone.

Money raised from the event will got to benefit programs offered at the Pregnancy Center.

For a list of additional concert venues, people can visit the band's website sanctusreal.com. People can also follow the band on their Promises tour via their Facebook page.