The Rock rocks MoJazz weekly

Shannon Varner

Every week, The Rock, a Christian organization, welcomes friends in for a party with some music — without the alcohol.

“There’s not much else going on besides a party,” says Matt Heerema, ISU alum and vocalist for The Rock’s band, the Lone Strangers.

The organization, along with the band, meets every Thursday night for a non-alcoholic get-together at MoJazz, 2520 Lincoln Way.

The Rock moved its meetings from the Memorial Union Terrace to the bar when the weather started cooling down. Despite the recent liquor license troubles, members of The Rock considered the move a positive idea.

“We read in the Daily that MoJazz lost their license. We thought we could approach them and help them out,” says Pastor Tim Borseth of the Stonebrook Community Church, 3611 Eisenhower Avenue. “Dwight [Rivera], the bar manager, loved it — it wasn’t hard to convince him.”

The Lone Strangers, better known as The Rock’s band, convey a religious message in a modern way: through music. Band members, as well as members of the organization, say The Rock strives to bring a unity among students of various branches of the Christian faith.

“We have been on campus since 1972,” says Rock producer Paul Johnson, senior in computer science. “What we’re looking to do is to just share with other people what we’ve found – to share the relationship we’ve found with God through Jesus Christ.”

Heerema says the best way to do that is through music.

“The band’s always been a part of what we’ve done,” Heerema says. “We sat down and looked at our strengths. We have close relationships with each other and we had a really talented band. We decided to trim down and focus on relationships and music – it’s what we’re good at.”

The Lone Strangers is best known for its covers. The band itself only has a few of its own original songs, which Heerema hopes will be recorded onto an EP by the end of the year. He says the band has covered guitar-driven rock songs from the likes of the Foo Fighters, U2, Third Eye Blind and The Proclaimers. From punk to pop, the band will cover current chart-topping songs as well as old, forgotten classics.

“We’ve been having a good time,” Borseth says. “There’s a very strong party flavor. [But] the word has not gotten out yet. Right now it’s Iowa State’s best kept secret.”

Heerema says students from all branches of religion, as well as students who just need a place to go to unwind, are welcome. It’s this open, spontaneous attitude that group members say makes it difficult to categorize the weekly performances.

“If I told you it’s a church thing, you’d get the wrong idea. If I told you it’s a Christian thing, you’d get the wrong idea. If I told you it’s a party, you’d get the wrong idea,” Heerema says. “The best way we can show or express to people is by doing what we’re doing.”

Who: The Lone Strangers

Where: MoJazz, 2520 Lincoln Way

When: 6:30 p.m. every Thursday

Cost: Free