BY JUSTIN TRAUSCH
FOR THE OPELIKA OBSERVER
From a small dorm room to nationwide Christian sensations, the Sidewalk Prophets has steadily become one of the biggest contemporary Christian bands in the country. On Aug. 4, they will be performing at the First Baptist Church in Opelika.
The band was formed back in 2001 in lead singer Dave Frey’s and guitarist-turned-manager Ben McDonald’s dorm room at Anderson University in Indiana. Formally known as “Four Floorz II Heaven” back in those days, the group would go on to win a Battle of the Bands-type competition at Anderson which jump started the musicians’ budding careers.
Two decades later, with four studio albums under their belt and more than 15 Top 20 songs, the musicians have stayed true to their message, Christ and their fans.
“We want to joyfully inspire hope and let everyone know that they’re welcome in the family of God,” Frey said. “That’s what we call our fans — The Great Big Family — because we really believe that they’re brothers and sisters in Christ.”
With their most recent album “The Things That Got Us Here” topping out at No. 2 on the U.S. Top Christian album charts and over 600,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, the group’s fanbase has certainly grown to unprecedented heights.
“We as a band would not be able to function without our fans,” Frey said. “So, to us, it’s a closer relationship than just fandom, it’s a family.”
Of course, summer is the time for music festivals and big concert venues, but First Baptist Church doesn’t really meet those criteria. Turns out that the musicians have an unusually strong connection to the area through one of their band members.
Ben Young, their newly recruited keys player, is an Auburn native and graduated from Auburn High School in 2017. He joined the band just over a year ago by replying to a Facebook message that the band put out, and “has been a blessing” for the Sidewalk Prophets.
Even though the group has been touring mostly in northern states for much of the summer, taking time to visit the South has always been a great experience for the band, they said.
“Every time we go down there, we’re always blown away by the hospitality and the people,” Frey said. “We’re just excited for people to come out, feel loved on and hopefully walk away with a smile on their face knowing that Jesus loves them, and we love them too.”
Frey even helped fan the flames of the most infamous rivalry in college sports along the way.
“We’ve played Tuscaloosa, and so we fully expect Auburn to be at least four times better.”
Their upcoming album is currently in the works and is projected to be released sometime early next year. In the meantime, the public is invited to come out to First Baptist Church in Opelika on Aug. 4