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Christian rock bands coming for annual Winter Meltdown

Published 12:05pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grace Christian Church hosts its annual Winter Meltdown rock concert tonight.

Two Christian rock bands are featured this year: Lightswitch, based in Eau Claire, Wis., and Loftland, based in Madison.

The doors open at 6 p.m. The concert starts at 7 p.m. The price is free. Anyone from any faith can attend. Generally, the ages in attendance are between 12 and 23. The is a party after the show with free pizza.

Grace Christian Church is at 501 W. College St.

A familiar face will be drumming for Loftland. Zach Wilke, a 2011 Albert Lea High School graduate, has been drumming since eighth grade. He began to take drumming seriously in ninth grade and scaled back his involvement in sports to focus on it, particularly in the wake of a fractured backbone. He was active in music at Crossroads Church in Albert Lea.

He found out that Loftland needed a drummer in June 2011 at Water’s Edge, a last-day-of-school festival at Edgewater Park and joined the band.

He had planned to go to a Bible college in California. Since then, he has played in Albert Lea two times.

“I had people coming up to me telling me they never expected me to be doing this,” Wilke said.

He plans on doing some online classes next semester and see where his education plans go.

“I feel called by God to be here in how he’s using me.”

He has played shows little and big. Loftland was among many bands that played before 50,000 at the LifeLight Festival in Sioux Falls, S.D., he said.

Wilke got to play at Water’s Edge in 2012.

The Rev. George Marin of Grace Christian Church said his congregation hosts the concert to give the youth of Albert Lea an activity during the doldrums of the winter break.

“It’s a grass-roots local even right here in Albert Lea,” Marin said.

He said he puts in 300 hours of planning and work for the Winter Meltdown, much of it asking for donations, even just $10, to offset the expenses. The show had 200 people attend last year.