Chris Renzema performs for hundreds in fieldhouse

Photo by Mary-Grace Bryers

Veronica Novotny

Assistant Editor

An up-and-coming Christian artist visited Franciscan University of Steubenville to perform his first concert in seven months for over 250 fans, Friday in Finnegan Fieldhouse.

Recently nominated for GMA Dove’s “New Artist of the Year” Award, Chris Renzema released self-produced music in 2014 and 2018 before signing with Centricity Music and dropping his first studio album, “Let the Ground Rest,” last April, making this the first time many of his songs had been performed live, Renzema said.

Fans lined up two hours before the concert’s scheduled 8 p.m. start, braving the cold to guarantee a seat near the stage. When doors opened at 7:45, over a hundred people were waiting to dash into the fieldhouse.

From the moment Renzema came on stage with his band, the crowd cheered and members of the audience repeatedly shouted, “Thank you so much for coming!”

Responding to these enthusiastic cheers from the crowd, Renzema said, “Thank you guys. Wow, I can tell you guys haven’t been allowed to go to a lot of events. We are so happy to be here. When we got reached out to by your school, it was like, ‘A show? In 2020? Deal.’”

Among other new music and old favorites, Renzema performed his brand-new single “Tear My House Down,” which had been released at midnight earlier that day.

Renzema was joined by a pianist, guitarist and drummer, but he performed his worship song “You’re the Only One” and the encore “Mercy” solo.

Dozens stayed after the concert to purchase merchandise, ask Renzema for signatures and talk to the band as they packed up their equipment.

Sophomore Catarina Rego said, “(This) was my first actual concert and it surpassed my expectations. Both my sister and I greatly enjoyed the music and lyrics, and it was a very wholesome and uplifting concert — joy (that’s) on another level.”

Junior Alleyxa Heisserer said, “It’s almost as if (the fieldhouse) experienced supernatural shockwaves.”

Junior Kaitlyn Reznicek, who stayed to thank Renzema for influencing her life by his music, said, “I have never been to such a spirit-led, raw and authentic concert. Chris didn’t just perform for us, he led us in worship. Having the San Damiano cross behind him (in the fieldhouse) directed us towards the one who we were all singing to.”

“I think we all felt how anointed and special the night was. It was a night I’ll never forget.”

Renzema was hosted by Student Life.