downhere vocalist aims at spot in Queen touring production

The high-pitched vocalist from downhere, Marc Martel, is doing what many Christians say we should be doing - but getting flak for it.
Martel has entered the Queen Extravaganza ( contest where musicians use a video to audition a spot on a 2012 tour featuring the music of Queen. The band will be made up of musicians hand picked by Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor. This is not a tribute band. It’s a touring production of Queen music.
The video of Martel singing Queen's "Somebody to Love" ( already has about 1.8 million hits - and pages of positive comments. His downhere bandmates support him (bass player Glenn Lavender has been tweeting and posting on Facebook aout Martel's journey regularly) One blog (  already calles him the next Freddie Mercury (Queen's original vocalist who died from was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS in 1991). And the Wall Street Journal has posted a feature on him (
All of this is good news, right? A committed Christian musician enters a secular contest and wins acclaim not just for his faith but his talent.This seems to be the storyline we're preached to each week: be like Jesus, go into the world and let your light shine. Unfortunately there are a few naysayers as blogger (and friend) Joanne Brokaw notes (
Seriously? Why do there always have to be fellow believers who set themselves up as judge and jury over another's actions?
I've interviewed Lavender a few times and the one thing that has struck me about the band is the depth of their spiritual life. Each of them are well-connected to a faith community and have accountability structures in place. And I'm sure Martel's bandmates will be the first to call him to account if he strays.
Interestingly, some of the arguments raised against Martel's involvement were the same one's used when Amy Grant made the leap into secular music in the early 1980s. I thought three decades later we'd be much further along in our thinking.
Personally, I think this is a great thing. Martel has the vocal talent and the spiritual depth to carry this off if he wins. And my prayer (which I posted as a comment to one of Lavender's posts) is that God will grant Martel wisdom and grace if he wins.