MIDDLEBURG — Back in the area by request, Central Pennsylvania native and Christian recording artist Chris Pick, and GMA Dove Award-winning contemporary Christian music singer-songwriter Mitch McVicker will be performing a concert in Middleburg on Nov. 5.
The concert will begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at Grace Covenant Community Church, 99 Café Lane, Middleburg. It is a free event, but a love offering will be taken to help support McVicker’s travel expenses.
McVicker is known best for being a member of the famed 1990s Ragamuffin Band.
The two, who have known and performed alongside each other a number of times over the last few years, presented a benefit concert in Beaver Springs in June 2019 to support area resident and Pick’s close friend, Trina Eia, who continues to battle a rare form of cancer.
“The community loved the concert, and many wanted us to come back,” Pick said. With the help of Eia’s family, a venue was secured for another concert in May, but it was canceled due to the COVID pandemic. “But we made it happen again,” Pick said.
Pick met McVicker 11 years ago, when he was working on a project with friend and producer Rick Elias, founding member of the Ragamuffin Band along with the late Rich Mullins. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that they began performing together, beginning with a radio station-hosted tribute concert in New Mexico in honor of Rich Mullins’ 20th Memorial. They also performed together for a concert in Nashville to benefit Rick Elias, who was battling cancer. This past summer, Pick and McVicker also performed a concert in Shamokin to benefit a local Pregnancy Care Center.
“Like many artists I share the stage with, we don’t perform together all the time,” Pick said. “But when we do, it’s fun. We are both similar and very different musically in other ways. So there is a connection between us and we can both add a bit of diversity when we share the stage.”
It’s that diversity that Pick loves most about performing alongside McVicker. He laughed when at a recent concert someone commented that they reminded her of the days of Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Keith Green and the like. Though Pick and McVicker aren’t that old, Pick said he took it as a compliment.
“Those old school legends did some innovative stuff that I think is missed these days in Contemporary Christian music,” he said.
Pick has done several solo shows in the area, but said he doesn’t often get the privilege. So he’s looking forward to being in Middleburg next week.
Pick said he doesn’t have setlists for his concerts, but promises that he and McVicker “both have enough material to go all night.”
“I try not to repeat too much, and I know Mitch started a new tour,” he added.
McVicker said he plans to play “a smattering of songs from my eleven recorded albums,” including a couple of songs from an album that he is currently recording.
“When I do a concert, it kind of looks like a garage sale,” he said. “I have a table full of household items, junk and children’s toys that I use as percussion instruments. I hit the items and loop sounds to make beats. I then play various stringed instruments — guitar, banjo, ukulele — and sing with the quirk groove to communicate the songs.”
But his performances are more than just creative musical experiences.
“I hope that people will walk away feeling better about life and their spot in the world,” he said. “I want us all to look with awe at this beautifully mysterious universe.
“I want us all to remember that the God of love is active in all things,” he added, “all around us, in us, in everything. God works through the ordinary, the grand, the mundane and the exciting — to make us who we are.”
Pick’s music has found success around the world, charting in both mainstream pop and Christian genres. Among his work is a 2012 release, “Finally Free,” a tribute to friend and late Monkee frontman Davy Jones.
He plays a variety of instruments, including keyboard, guitar, ukulele, and lap dulcimer, and mostly performs his own music, while throwing in a few cover tunes now and again — including a Beach Boy, Rich Mullins or Monkee tribute song.
McVicker began touring and writing songs with Mullins in the mid-1990s. In the summer of 1997, he began recording his first solo project with Mullins’s help. The two were involved in a serious auto accident that September, in which Mullins was instantly killed. McVicker was seriously injured and has since suffered from double-vision. In 1998, “My Deliverer,” a song co-written by Mullins and McVicker, earned a GMA Dove Award for the 1999 Song of the Year.
Over the years, McVicker has performed in 49 states and 13 countries over the years. He typically plays around 100 concerts a year. The pandemic has cut that number down quite a bit this year, so he said he’s grateful for the opportunity to come to central Pennsylvania to perform.
David Eia, Trina Eia’s father-in-law, said the family is looking forward to seeing Pick and McVicker in concert again.
Last year at the fundraiser, he said, they “gave a stirring, creative, and at times very humorous concert.” He said the concert included “moving” songs that Pick wrote and performed on guitar and keyboard.
“Mitch has a very unique sound and style, and as we watched in delight, would build most songs by layering a wide variety of creative sounds,” Eia said. “Sounds, by the way, from plastic bottles, tin, with actual musical instruments, then in singing and by guitar created a mood and experience that was wonderfully inspired.
“We look forward to being there again, and hope many in the area will join us,” he said.
As Trina continues to battle the cancer, which has grown and causes increasing difficulties, Eia said she “continues to have an incredibly positive heart and attitude”.
“She has wonderful family support, takes short walks whenever she can and attends church when she can,” he said. She also posts updates on her journey on her Facebook page.