Christian band to headline at Stroh PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor   
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 09:19
Members of Sanctus Real, a Christian band, will perform the first concert at Bowling Green State University's new Stroh Center on Saturday. Many of the band members are from Northwest Ohio.
Homecomings are a traditional feature on campuses across the country, including Bowling Green State University.
The members of Sanctus Real are looking forward to their own version of homecoming as they return to their Northwest Ohio roots as the headlining act for the upcoming concert at BGSU's new Stroh Center on Saturday.
In addition to Sanctus Real, the Christian concert will also feature fellow Dove Award winner, Tenth Avenue North. Cedarville University student Hayden Browning will also perform. A limited number of tickets remain for the concert.
"We are very excited about this concert," said Mark Graalman, drummer and founding member of Sanctus Real.
Though now a nationally touring band, Graalman said they formed in Toledo in November 1996, and are still based in this area.
"We're honored and humbled to be asked to do such a cool thing," he said of headlining what was expected to be the first event. "We're pretty excited to get in there, it's going to be an amazing night."
Due to weather forecasts, summer graduation at the university was moved to the Stroh Center last Saturday, making that the first event instead of the concert.
In addition to Graalman, the other founding members still active in the band are Matt Hammitt as lead vocalist, and Chris Rohman on lead guitar. They will be joined in the concert by bass player Dan Gartley, who has been with the band six years. Pete Prevost will also play both guitar and keyboard.
Hammitt lives in Perrysburg, Graalman in Sylvania; while Rohman resides in Toledo. The newer members as well as many of the crew are Nashville residents.
As the band has developed, Graalman said they are now able to be spend more time at home with their families. They were doing as many as 230 shows a year, and with travel time, they were rarely at home.
The drummer said they now play about 170 dates a year, and travel is frequently by plane, allowing more family time.
The group has come a long way from the early jam sessions held in the basement of Rohman's home.
"It's been a crazy journey for the band, we have changed over the years and grown as musicians and songwriters.
He said their concerts reflect that journey and he expects the upcoming concert to be more of the same.
They plan to open with their signature high energy pop rock songs, but will also transition into more relaxed and atmospheric songs.
"We want it to be an incredible show and to give them (the audience) a good reason to keep going to see Sanctus Real."
As for the name, Graalman said he is responsible for the first half of the name. As a teen, he was leafing through Webster's dictionary and ran across the word. Sanctus, Latin for Holy, is often a hymn or song of praise sung during a liturgy, often in the Catholic Mass.
"I thought that would be a cool name for a Christian rock band," Graalman said.
A former guitar player in the group thought the title should include the word real.
"That's about as much thought as there was to the creation of our name," he added.
Though they have totally embraced the name.
"God has called us to be real with people," Graalman said.
He stressed the importance of "being real, transparent and honest" in their music and especially in their songwriting.
The drummer said sometimes people have the perception because of their success, the band and its members have it all together. They try to convey to their audience in words and music, that they are just real people.
"We're really screwed up, but God is really gracious," he said.
"This particular show is a big deal for us," Graalman said for being the first performance at the center and their homecoming.
"The Toledo area is where we cut our teeth before we signed a record deal. The area has been so supportive," he said. "We know this needs to be an incredible concert."
The band is writing songs for a new record release and will debut two or three songs which even their biggest fans have never heard.
The Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards recognize achievement in all genres of Christian and Gospel music. Sanctus Real won in 2005 for Modern Rock Album of the Year. Tenth Avenue North was named best new artist of the year for 2009. Sanctus Real has also received a Grammy nomination.
Advance tickets for $20 are on sale through any Ticketmaster outlet including the box office at the Stroh Center, or by calling (800) 745-3000. Youth and BGSU students can purchase tickets for $15 and groups of 10 or more can get special $12 tickets. Walk-up prices on the day of the concert will be $25. Tickets can also be purchased on or by calling (877) BGSU TICKET.

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