The Great Romance
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The Great Romance

Belleville, Illinois, United States

Belleville, Illinois, United States
Band Rock Christian

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On Tuesday nights, Matt Vollmar and his bandmates rock out.
Walk by their studio in Matt's backyard on a warm summer night and you can hear guitar riffs and rhythmic drumbeat.
"Creator of the stars, as far as eyes can see. Creator of heaven and earth, created you and me." Matt, 30, sang.
Matt Stephens, 25, of St. Peters, MO., and Andy Schneider, (21), of Bethalto, backed him up on guitar. Drummer Chad Carpenter, 28, of St. Louis, kept the beat.
There's no alcohol, no foul language or explicit lyrics.
It's four guys, who start each practice session with prayer, playing Christian music. Their band is called The Great Romance.
"We'd like to think of ourselves like a Christian U2, " said Matt Vollmar, a third grade teacher at Bellev Valley School North who lives in Belleville with his wife Lindsay.
Dressed in jeans and T-shirts, band members took swigs of water from plastic bottles. The window air-conditioner in the small house-turned-studio wasn't putting out much cold air.
Both teens and grandparents think their music is hot.
"We've all been in worship bands," said Matt Stephens.
The band had evolved.
"Before, we were more of a rock band. Now we do worship music, so we have a broad appeal from teens to people in their 60s and older," said Matt Vollmar.
Chad appreciates feedback from audiences.
"Some liittle lady came up to me and said,'I've heard you play two or three times. My grandson plays drums," said Chad, 28, who helps manage the band.
He and Matt Vollmar began the MaxPower band about six years ago. Other musicians have come and gone but the two continue to play and write music together.
Andy joined the band last year, and Matt Stephens came on board three months ago. Matt Stephens teachers guitar lessons and Andy is an education major at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Earlier this year, the band changed its name to The Great Romance to reflect a move from Christian rock to more mellow contemporary praise and worship songs.
"It's not just a concert. It's a way for people to encounter God," said Chad.
"Eighty percent of it is our own music, but we throw in a couple covers (songs by other writers)," said Matt Vollmar.
Andy agress.
"It's a collaborative effort. Everybody brings something to the music."
"Cretor," The Great Romance's first CD, is available for $10 at thegreatromance.com and at Christian bookstores On a Leap of Faith in Swansea and Treasures of the Kingdom in Fairview Heights.
The men practice with music stored on an iPod. A dominant clicking noise plays druing most songs, functioning as a metronome.
"The click helps us keep time," said Matt Vollmar, who grew up in Granite City singing gospel songs as Cedarview General Baptist and Johnson Road General Baptist churches.
Most weekends, they play at churches or Christian music festivals near and far. Some are in the metro-east, St. Louis or it's suburbs while others are in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana.
"We all drive there, do the concerts, drive back and go to work," said Matt Vollmar.

- Belleville News Democrat


CCM Magazine

The group consists of four individuals called by God to share His message through worship! The Great Romance's sound combines Chris Tomlin and Delirious with a splash of U2! Their contagious spirit and transparent heart for worship is captured in this, their debut worship album, Creator. Be sure to check out this rising group-to-watch!
thegreatromance.com
- CCM Magazine


Discography

Our Hearts, BMI - 2011
Matt Vollmar solo EP, BMI - 2012

Available on Itunes and at www.thegreatromance.com

Photos

Bio

The Great Romance has opened up for some of today's biggest Christian acts including: Lincoln Brewster, Charlie Hall, Shane and Shane, David Crowder, and Gungor. TGR plays festivals (AGAPE/Greenville, IL, KINGDOM BOUND/Buffalo, NY, DISNEY'S NIGHT OF JOY/Orlando, FL), and continues to tour, traveling East to West, Jersey to California and North to South, Alaska to Florida.
The band continues to get radio play with our singles "Spent" and newest release "Stolen Me". Our music video for "Stolen Me" is seen all over the US on JCTV!
Our full length album "Our Hearts" continues to be our personal favorite project we've done to date, working with amazing producers (Dove Award Winner Rusty Varenkamp:10th Ave. North, Toby Mac and Allen Salmon: Mute Math, Sactus Real) and song writers (Doug McKelvey: Switchfoot, Jason Gray). One song off the album, the worship tune "Empty Hands", made it to thetop 10 of Chris Tomlin's songwriting contest for 2011.
The Great Romance plays concerts, worship, camps and retreats. We all feel that the greatest relationship anyone can have is with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and it is our mission to share that message with the world.