Yesterday, around 11 AM, my daughter Meredith was practicing with her string quartet in the Calvin Fine Arts Center when someone came in to the practice room and asked if someone could play with Jars of Clay for the night’s concert. Both violinists said they didn’t play by ear but Meredith, who had been playing along with “Like a Child” since 8th grade said, sure I’ll do it! Soon Dan Hazeltine, the JoC lead singer came by and said “want to play with us tonight?” “I have to play at a wedding at 5 but I could make the 8 o’clock show.” “Great, soundcheck at noon – see you then.”
So Meredith quickly calls a couple of people and does the soundcheck where they suggest she play on three songs. She does and then goes to get ready for the wedding. We meet her at the wedding (which was very nice – congratulations, Jen and Steve!) and then we all went to the Prince Conference Center for the reception. Meredith left a early (and so did we) and she hung out backstage with Dan, Matt, Steve and Charley while Sara Groves and Chris Rice opened the show.
Then Jars of Clay came on, did a couple of songs and then brought Meredith out to a huge welcome from her friends and family in the audience (it was a sold-out show) and launched into “Like a Child” which Meredith nailed. It was like one of those dreams you have when the band says “hey come play with us” and then you do and then you’re great and the band raves about how good you are. Yeah, that really happened. Meredith played another song and then came back for the last encore.
Afterward we hung out with Meredith and her new friends for a while. We were all impressed with what nice guys all four of the guys in the band are. They treated Meredith like a special guest and talked about what fun they had playing with her in the band. They jokingly said they were going to take her with them to Wisconsin for the next show. What a great night.
EDIT: Here's what Chimes - Calvin's Student newspaper wrote:
A highlight of the show was when Calvin freshman Meredith Keeley received the honor of playing violin onstage with the contemporary combo. The band picked her out of a practice room, plopped her on stage and marveled as she played magnificently.
The crowd went wild to see one of their own performing with the Christian-rock legends, but Keeley never lost her cool and fit in perfectly, moving to the music and playing off of the other members beautifully.
Read the whole review here.