Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

"Fusion" is coming to Louisville. Normally in this I talk about concerts coming to the Louisville area. But don't be mistaken, "Fusion" is not a band. In fact, "Fusion" is not a concert event. It's coming to the Palace in downtown Louisville. If you're going to the Palace for an event, it's got to a concert, right? Apparently that's not the case. There will be music and lots of people are expected to go, but it's not a concert. Tickets are available at area Christian bookstores ... but they're free. OK, so is this a church event? Well, church leaders are behind it, but no one church is putting it on. So what is "Fusion"? And why are so many people talking about it? Well, I wanted to know too.

"Fusion is a worship event for the entire Greater Louisville/Southern Indiana community, " says Chuck Jeter, former "Grace Notes" ist and General Administrative Coordinator for the event. "It is not geared to a demographic but a `psycho-graphic.' Anyone who is geared for a passionate worship experience among a community of believers is who we want to be here. It is not a concert for just a hype event."

OK, so it's not a concert, we've established that. It's a "worship event." It's being organized by leaders from various churches in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Graceland Baptist Church, Southeast Christian Church, Okolona Christian Church and many others are represented.

"We have all been to concerts or events that are there for mainly entertainment. This is meant to be the `un-event event.' Look, if God is not the focus and the main thing we don't want to waste our time and God's money. So we beg that God is the sole focus of a passionate time," he says.

Jeter, who works with the organization Youth For Christ, says that he and other church leaders got the idea about "Fusion" after attending The Greater Louisville Billy Graham Crusade last summer.

"I and several others involved in the lead team were a part of the youth committee for the Graham crusade," he says. "As we sat around the table we found out that we knew most of each other, we like each other, and we wanted to continue to work together. Well I believe God has called our bluff on this. See, we have all talked about how we would love to do something together. Well, the time is now!!! The question is what are we going to do about it?" Can this event cross some of the same racial and church denominational boundaries the Graham crossed? "The issues that have divided us are not a part of this event. Therefore as long as a church wants to be a part of a community that is just worshipping Jesus I think we can have a denominationally diverse group."

I mentioned that the tickets are free for the event. Renting the Palace costs thousands of dollars, so who is paying for this event?

"We feel so strongly that God is wanting to move in this community in a unified way that we (the lead team) are soliciting donors and chipping in from our own meager budgets to pull off the first one. The goal is to offer this event as a free event with a love offering. If the community catches the same vision then they will be owning the event. The offering will go towards funding the next event. We are asking for a minimum donation of $5 per person to fund the next event."

There will be various speakers and musicians for the event, though organizers hadn't announced names at press time. The focus seems to be on the message more than the messenger.

"It is not a concert. It is a move of God. It is our prayer that He graces us with the manifest presence of His glory." Jeter also says organizers plan on continuing into the future. "We are planning to do 8 `Fusions' a year. The venue will be at the Palace unless it grows too large and we have to move it to a venue that could hold all of the worshippers."

"Fusion" takes place 7:00 PM Sunday January 20th at the Palace in downtown Louisville. For more details visit www.fusionworship.com.

True Vibe brings their trademark "boy band" sound to Campbellsville Baptist Church on January 16. The group, which features Campbellsville's Nathan Gaddis along with Jason Barton, Jordan Roe and Jonathan Lippmann, released their self-titled debut in May. The group was formed by Lippmann, a Cincinnati resident whose resume includes acting (TV's "Sweet Valley High") and well as singing. Lippmann is best known as an original founding member of the group 98 Degrees. He chose to leave 98 Degrees as they were signing, in part to fulfill acting obligations, but also because he felt he needed to move in a different direction. He says, "I caught a glimpse of what our future held, and I decided that I wanted to grow more in my Christian walk before stepping onto such a huge national platform. My decision opened the door to incredible spiritual growth that I can now share with our fans."

Lippmann used the same feel for talent that helped him assemble 98 Degrees. His search produced three young singers - Barton, Gaddis, and Roe.

True Vibe landed the Nashville-based foursome high profile performances from the start, garnering considerable exposure in front of more than 700,000 people before signing a major recording contract. Their first musical bow was singing the national anthem for game one of the N.Y. Knicks-Indiana Pacers series during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. In the few months that followed, the group appeared on "Late Night with David Letterman" (before their single had even been released to radio) and performed the national anthem for the Tennessee Titans, the Washington Redskins, the Cincinnati Reds and at the Arena Bowl in Orlando. In October, the group joined cast members of movie "On The Line" at its premiere.

I've interviewed Lippman and Gaddiss during the last year and had a chance to talk with them on other occasions as well, and I've always been impressed at their attitude, despite their amazing resume. It would be easy for a group to get caught up in the glitz and glamour when it comes that fast, but they've always seemed pretty "down-to-earth" to me.

"When it came to forming True Vibe, I knew each member must be held to the highest standard," says Lippmann. "I know that for True Vibe to compete, we have to work twice as hard and make no compromises. Not only does this mean having members with the best vocal and dance skills, it also means having members with the right hearts."

For more information on the concert, call 270-789-5161.