'Come Alive' with Mark SchultzEDGERTON — Edgerton is a community that is strong both in Dutch heritage and faith values. So when organizers began to talk about booking entertainment for Edgerton’s 60th annual Dutch Festival, slated for July 10-11, a concert by a Christian band or artist seemed like a natural choice.
EDGERTON — Edgerton is a community that is strong both in Dutch heritage and faith values.
So when organizers began to talk about booking entertainment for Edgerton’s 60th annual Dutch Festival, slated for July 10-11, a concert by a Christian band or artist seemed like a natural choice.
“I serve on the Chamber board in Edgerton, which helps to oversee the Dutch Festival and the planning of that,” explained Rob Veldkamp of Edgerton, who is a Minnesota State Patrol trooper and runs a landscaping service. “In about February or March, there was an opening as far as trying to fill the Friday or Saturday night schedule. We had done some Christian concerts in the past.”
Some recent developments in Veldkamp’s life also influenced his interest in bringing a Christian concert to his hometown.
“Last fall, I (was diagnosed) with a brain tumor,” he related, “and since then I’ve been trying to revisit (those faith values), and God has basically gotten my attention that I need to do more than I’m doing. Instead of ‘going through the motions,’ as some of the songs say, I’m trying to grow a little bit and do a bit more.”
Veldkamp is still in treatment for his cancer and is currently taking chemotherapy pills, but he feels like he’s been “very blessed” by the course his life has taken and how his prayers have been answered in dealing with the tumor.
“I feel that God put that in my life for a reason,” he said. “We don’t always see the good in a situation. People say I’ve been such a witness to them, but I guess I don’t always know the things I’m doing that affect people directly. This tumor has not been all bad. It’s been a good growing situation for myself, and, hopefully, my family has benefited and those around me.”
Because of the unexpected blessings that he’s experienced, Veldkamp felt compelled to find a bigger way of sharing his beliefs while contributing to his community.
“Christian music is something that I love to listen to, and a concert seemed like a natural thing. Having grown up in the Edgerton community, the Dutch festival was started by our forefathers as a family event, and I felt like it was important to bring some entertainment to Edgerton that was going to be able to be enjoyed by the whole family.”
With time running short on booking, Veldkamp began to research various artists, prices and availability. Dove Award-winning artist Mark Schultz seemed to fit the bill.
“Mark Schultz is an entertainer that my 8-year-old listens to and enjoys and that my parents listen to and enjoy,” Veldkamp noted. “He’s a great entertainer and reaches a lot of people.”
A native of Colby, Kan., Schultz graduated from Kansas State University and in 1994 moved to Nashville to pursue a music career.
“I became a professional waiter,” Schultz explained in his Web site biography.
While he was serving as youth director at Nashville’s First Presbyterian Church and trying to get his career off the ground, Schultz’s parents came to visit. They were standing outside the famed Ryman Auditorium when his dad told him he’d play there someday. At the time, Mark couldn’t even imagine it, but before long that dream came true.
With encouragement and help from his church family, Schultz rented out the famed locale to put on a show.
“Everybody at our church chipped in,” he recalled. “You had moms that were bringing the food and bringing the choir robes. I thought if I don’t sell this thing out, I’ll look like a big moron, but at least it was on my own terms, and I wanted to do it. If I failed, I failed, but I would fail doing what I wanted to do.”
He didn’t fail. The auditorium filled with enthusiastic Mark Schultz fans. Record executives came to check him out, and soon Schultz had a record deal.
His days as a “professional waiter” are long behind him. Schultz has been No. 1 on Billboard’s “Hot Christian Adult Contemporary Songwriters” list and has garnered nine No. 1 radio hits. Career highlights include being the centerpiece of the U.S. Army campaign “Letters From War,” named Christian Music Today’s Male Vocalist in 2003, and featured on the national TV programs “48 Hours,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and on CNN. His 2005 release, “Mark Schultz Live … A Night of Stories & Songs,” went platinum and garnered Schultz his first GMA Dove Award.
His latest album, “Come Alive,” slated for release on Aug. 25, is being presold via the Web site, and this fall he will embark on a 30-city “Come Alive” tour with the Christian band Point of Grace. He’s preparing for that tour with a series of summer festival dates at locations such as Edgerton.
“I always joke that I’m not that great of a singer,” Schultz said in his bio. “I’m not a great songwriter and not a great piano player, but to be able to do all three of those in front of people, they communicate something. They can feel the heart when I’m singing the songs and that’s what moves people.”
Veldkamp and the other Dutch Festival organizers hope that people will be moved to come to the Schultz concert and then be moved by the singer’s message. They’ve purposefully kept ticket prices low to encourage families to attend.
“We don’t want cost to be an issue,” Veldkamp emphasized. “I’ve got a family of six, and we could spend $100 going to a concert. We wanted this to go back to being a family-oriented event, and one that’s affordable in today’s economy. People have made extra donations to this so we could make it affordable for people to come.”
Mark Schultz will perform at 8:30 p.m. July 10 in Edgerton City Park. Advance reduced-price tickets are available at Tally Ho Coffee in Edgerton, Crossroads Book & Music in Sioux Falls, S.D., or by calling (507) 442-8508. Limited bleacher seating is available; people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.