Family helps church bring Christian singer to Kaneville for concert
by Lynn Meredith
KANEVILLEâ€”The far-fetched vision of one Kaneville family is making a dream come true for their church and community.
The Wendlings, members of the Kaneville United Methodist Church, dreamed big enough to persuade Grammy-nominated musician Paul Colman to perform in the village on Saturday, Sept. 11, and also to share his message of faith at the church during the next morningâ€™s service.
Australian-born singer and song-writer Colman travels the globe singing, speaking and sharing his songs, thoughts and faith. He has released 15 recordings, both solo and with various groups. He played with the Aussie rockers, The Newsboys, until 2008. Since then, he has been touring and recording in the studio.
The story of how this international musician came to book a performance at the Kaneville church is one that Russ Wendling is happy to tell. The story proves that it never hurts to ask, no matter how far-fetched something might seem, he said.
The Wendlingsâ€™ youngest daughter, Anna, 13, is a huge fan of Paul Colman and The Newsboys. The family had the opportunity last summer to attend a concert he headlined in McHenry at a Family Faith Night.
â€œIt was awesome to see our favorite. We really enjoyed it,â€ Russ Wendling said. â€œUsually he plays at mega-churches for thousands of people. This venue was smaller, about 500 people.â€
That smaller venue is what got Anna thinking out-loud on the way home from the concert with her parents.
â€œâ€˜If Paul Colman would come to McHenry,â€™ she asked us, â€˜do you think he would come to Kaneville?â€™â€ Wendling said. â€œWe laughed a little bit at the thought. We went on dreaming about it as if it couldnâ€™t be a reality. But I always say, it never hurts to check into things.â€
Check in, he did. First he called his contacts at the K-LOVE radio station. They referred him to a booking agency which then referred him to a family friend of Colmanâ€™s. Wendling was surprised when he sailed through the list of referrals. Each contact answered his call on the first ring.
â€œI got goose bumps,â€ Wendling said. â€œUsually in these situations, itâ€™s a series of voice mails and Iâ€™ll-get-back-to-youâ€™s. But they each picked up on the first ring. This just doesnâ€™t happen. I knew that God was working.â€
In an e-mail, the musician agreed to play on Saturday. He then went on to ask if he could preach to the congregation on Sunday morning. Wendling was amazed that this international performer, busy with touring and a new CD release, would want to preach in their church.
Kaneville United Methodist officials then had to decide what the church could afford to pay Colman for his appearance. A small church has a small budget, Wendling said, and Colmanâ€™s usual fee was twice what they could fathom paying.
Eventually, they proposed splitting expenses with a church in Lake Zurich that wanted Colman to perform on Friday. To their delight, Colman agreed to split his fee and travel expenses between the two churches.
â€œItâ€™s been an amazing process,â€ Wendling said. â€œItâ€™s been a learning thing for all of us and a teaching thing for my kids. It never hurts to ask.â€
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11
Kaneville United Methodist Church
General seating, $15.
Call (630) 557-2483 to reserve tickets.