Two-time Grammy winning artist Lecrae visited Wheaton College last Friday, Feb. 19, for a chapel address and a concert as a part of his 2016 Higher Learning Tour. Wheaton was the seventh stop on his tour of 36 cities across the United States.
The anticipation prior to Lecrae’s arrival on campus created a charged atmosphere noticeably different than is usual for a chapel address. “I felt the buzz around the campus that he was coming,” said senior Levi Soodsma. “It was the most excited I’ve seen people all year,” said junior Mercy Rakow.
His chapel message, entitled “Unashamed,” stressed the power of a story and how narratives affect the way we understand the world around us. Freshman Anna Saunders deemed his chapel message as “one of the best chapel talks of the year,” and sophomore Preston Teuscher said he was “pleasantly surprised to hear how relevant his message was to us Wheaton College students.”
His influential chapel message heightened the excitement for the evening’s concert in Edman Chapel, which about 1,300 people attended. Some students at Wheaton, including Soodsma bought their ticket after the chapel message because they found Lecrae’s message great and did not want to miss out on his concert.
Christian hip-hop and spoken word artist Propaganda opened the show with the spoken word piece “Bored of Education.” His act was followed by DJ Promote, who pumped up the audience for the main act, Lecrae.
During the first two performances, many students commented on how quiet the sound system was. “When Propaganda and DJ Promote were performing, it was too low,” said sophomore Alex Garcia. He said the audio was not loud enough until Lecrae came on stage.
Lecrae entered with flashing lights, dramatic beats and screaming students. He captivated the audience within seconds of his appearance on stage. From beginning to end, he captured the attention of everyone in Edman. He performed many of his chart-topping hits from older and more recent albums, including his latest release, “Church Clothes 3.” Alongside this, he gave short talks about the gospel and the underlying stories that propelled him to create the lyrics that have inspired many worldwide.
Many students were impressed by Lecrae’s ability to couple an exciting hip-hop performance and a gospel message. “He showed everyone that the gospel is not boring and that God can use any genre of music to bring glory to His name” said freshman Breanne Peacock. Sophomore Kurt Pazdra was inspired by Lecrae’s “authentic, Christlike humility” and “commanding stage presence.”
The concert was made possible by College Union concert manager senior Larryon Truman. Wheaton College has been trying to get Lecrae on campus for the past seven years. To finally get the opportunity to host him on campus brought years of effort to fruition.
Lecrae has been one of several big-name artists on campus over the past several years, including Gungor, The Decemberists, Josh Garrels, John Mark McMillan and more. While Lecrae marks the final major concert of the school year, students are anxiously waiting to see who College Union will bring to campus next year.