ASHLAND - Southview Grace Brethren Church Youth Pastor Taylor Brown had not heard of Anthem Lights before he started planning this concert, but his students certainly had.
The Christian pop rock band has more than 2.2 million followers on Facebook and 1 million subscribers on YouTube.
The four-vocalist boy band has shared the stage with Natalie Grant, Newsboys and Steven Curtis Chapman and performed on the 2011 Rock & Worship Roadshow tour.
But most of the band's teen and tween fans discovered Anthem Lights online, where they release a mix of new covers, original songs and video content each month. Their music is a mix of sacred and secular.
"I think the most unique thing about us is that we do all kinds of music," band member Chad Graham said in the band's promotional biography. "We do everything from a hymns medley to a Drake cover to a year-end mash-up. Our musical diversity is our identity."
Though their focus is digital, Anthem Lights does occasionally perform live. They're set to do so in Ashland March 31.
Sponsored by Southview Grace Brethren Church and promoted by Jet Promotions, the concert will be 7 to 9 p.m. March 31 at the John C. Myers Convocation center at Ashland University. Doors open at 6 p.m. Autographed CDs and band photos will be available for purchase after the show.
General Admission tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at ticketor.com/jetpromotion. VIP tickets are $50, and those who purchase VIP seats now through February 28 can have their choice of available seating by calling Jet Promotions at 216-848-4970.
A portion of proceeds from the show will go to support Southview's annual Wifflefest tournament.
Brown emphasized the concert is an outreach event rather than a church service.
"Our main idea is nothing in the sense of pushing our church agenda," he said. "We really want to reach the church, or religious community as well as others. We want to build an event for all people."
The church originally considered bringing the band in for an outdoor show during Wifflefest, which celebrates its 20th year this year. Together with Jet Promotions, church leaders decided to move the concert to a different time and location in hopes of attracting a wider audience and avoiding concerns about unpredictable weather.
"If this goes well, we're going to do something like this annually," Jet Promotions CEO Ed Kieper said. "This is really the first one of its kind. It's kind of unusual to have something like this in Ashland."
Kieper has seating available for as many as 1,300 people and is marketing the show to in Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Columbus. Youth pastors from other cities are already planning to bring groups of students to Ashland for the event.
"I have a busload of kids coming in from Kentucky for this, and there are even people flying in from Florida to come to this," Kieper said. "They're very, very popular, so I'm really excited about it."