Five local Christian artists will be put to the test Friday night at St. John XXIII church in a battle of the bands competition for a July festival with nationally renown Christian artists.
The five artists will take the stage from 5 to 9:45 p.m. at St. John XXII, 24250 Dixie Hwy, with a $5 cover for the night to help as a fund-raiser for the July 27 festival called Exclaim! The festival is free at Monsignor Schmit CYO Athletic Complex in Toledo, with performances by King & Country and by Tenth Avenue North.
“We want to promote good local Christian music and are excited about the development of the Exclaim! event,” said Michael Puppos, St. John XXII pastor associate for music and liturgy.
At 5:15 p.m., Stairwell will take the stage, then 2+One at 6:15 p.m., Setfree at 7:15 p.m., Connor Roy at 8:15 p.m., and Altars of Athens at 9:15 p.m. The winner, decided by votes, will be announced at 10 p.m. There will be 30 minutes between shows. All the artists are from northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan.
Because this is a first-time event, Mr. Puppos does not know how many to expect. The church can accommodate 500 to 600, but he thinks there will be a few hundred throughout the night. There will also be 50/50 drawings, raffles, and food available.
Nick Spinelli, a Christian rap artist of Toledo known as Setfree, said it would be “unbelievable” to receive the most votes and take part in the same festival as large name Christian bands like Tenth Avenue North.
He has turned his life around, he said. “I listened to evil, demented, wicked music. I binge drank and wrote music with a lot of hate.”
After meeting the woman who became his wife, he started going to a church that had hard rock and a pastor that also came out of a tough background, including drugs and alcohol abuse. .
Mr. Spinelli said he wants to use his talents and passion of rap to inspire believers and reach non-believers. His first Christian album is available on iTunes Tuesday, he has eight tracks.
“I‘m looking forward to the opportunity to get the most votes, but also the opportunity to share my ministry and to perform in front of people who haven’t heard me or my message,” he said.