Oxford sees a multitude of bands each week. They come, they play, the crowd applauds, and they leave. That’s the way touring works. It is very rare to have a band come with any ulterior motives or missions but that’s exactly what happened last night.
Before they swayed the crowd at The Lyric, Drew and Ellie Holcomb of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors came to Paris-Yates Chapel on the University campus for a Q&A and acoustic session with the Ole Miss Wesley Foundation’s Thursday night service.
“I’ve tried to do different things that will appeal and attract students which is my job as a campus minister. Music reaches so many students,” Eddie Willis, Campus Minister for the UM Wesley Foundation said. “I wanted the students to know what it’s like for a Christian couple to be in the public community.”
The event gave students and members of the UM Wesley the opportunity to talk with Drew and Ellie about their life and what it is like growing on the music scene while keeping the values they both grew up with. It also served as a preview and promotion of the performance later at The Lyric.
Ellie Holcomb just released her first album, “As Sure as the Sun,” on February 18th of this year. Ellie is a Christian music singer who often sings on tour with her husband Drew and the band.
“Music is a bridge,” Ellie said. “It connects lives.”
The UM Wesley Foundation contacted Drew when they heard about his coming to Oxford.
“About a year and a half ago I had the idea of trying to get them because they have such a broad appeal to Oxford students,” Willis said. “I just think they bring such an authenticity.”
Jonathan Hasten, the current Worship Intern for the Wesley Foundation attended the concert. “They are some of my favorite artists. I love the folk style that they do,” Hasten said. “They’re not a contemporary Christian band. They’re Christians who play music.”
“They had a really unique way of presenting their music,” junior Business major Thomas Toole said after attending the show. “It was really neat to see people who are really accomplished in what they do just come and share.”
After the show, Willis, encouraged the crowd to join them in going to The Lyric to support the band. Willis bought 15 tickets for the student leaders and lead a platoon of other attendees to The Lyric’s doors to listen to the show.
“We wanted them to be able to go together,” Willis said. “I wanted to go downtown. Instead of having people come to us, I wanted to go to the people.”
Willis stated that this was the kind of event he wanted students to be able to attend with the Wesley.
“I think Wesley offers a wide variety,” Emily Solley, junior Communications Sciences and Disorders major said. “Whether it’s this kind of music that may not be on K-Love or the crawfish boil or just random things for people to come and be in a community and find a place at Ole Miss.”
Susan Shae, a junior Criminal Justice major, also attended the show. “It is really great,” Shae said. “There aren’t that many places in Mississppi where you can get people like these well known artists to come to a university and sing and share their personal stories. They were once just like us so it’s really cool to hear how they started off. It’s really great that the Wesley is able to do this for us.”