Merchandiser article about upcoming Denison Witmer show (with a shout out to Veritas)

Below is a copy of an article that came out in our local free paper called The Merchandiser about our upcoming concert with Denison Witmer. Concert Debut To Feature Denison Witmer

By Dayna M. Reidenouer

“What would our neighborhoods look like if we were more intentional with our relationships with our neighbors?”

That is the challenge put forth by the collective of friends, organizations, and artisans who formed the community initiative, “#iheartlancity.” (The “pound sign” is also called a hashtag; it is used by the interactive Internet site, Twitter, to group comments by topic.) The association is dedicated to drawing people together to form connections, share resources, and prepare for hard times, said founder and spokesman Jeff McClain.

As its debut event, #iheartlancity will host a free, intimate concert with international performer Lancaster native Denison Witmer on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room on Prince, located on the third floor above Prince Street Café, 19 N. Prince St., Lancaster. The doors will open at 6:45 p.m. Singer-songwriter Matt Wheeler of Mount Joy will also perform. He will be accompanied by a violinist and a cellist.

“Matt Wheeler is a great local performer, (with) unique songwriting (abilities), and (he is) witty on stage,” McClain explained. “He and Ryan Braught (of Veritas Church) are part of the planners, dreamers, and visionaries (who first thought) of doing concerts together in this space and inspiring ways to reach out to our city neighbors.”

Hosting a concert featuring Witmer has been a long-standing dream of McClain’s. Witmer’s music could be classified as “neo-folk,” a style McClain says is perfect for the venue.

Witmer grew up in Lancaster County and graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School. According to Witmer’s publicist, he has been recording and performing for almost a decade since being discovered by Don Peris, producer and guitarist for Innocence Mission. Although Witmer, his wife, and their newborn son live in Philadelphia, he still retains ties to the county; his mother and one of his three brothers still reside in the area. His father’s death in 2008 is much of the subject matter of Witmer’s new album, “The Ones Who Wait,” which will be released in February on Asthmatic Kitty Records.

“I love Lancaster,” Witmer commented. “I've always been excited about the creative arts scene in Lancaster, and I enjoy being able to dive back into it from time to time.”

While not overt, Witmer’s Mennonite roots have had an impact on his songwriting.

“Growing up Mennonite, I grew up with a lot of beautiful hymn-singing. I don't specifically write hymns, but I think the sacred space that (hymns) create is something I've always strived to re-create in my own songs,” Witmer explained. “I like things with a sense of awe, mystery, and simplistic depth... For me, the most complex things are easier to reach through the simplest of measures.”

At the concert, Witmer plans to perform a variety of songs from all of his albums, but he will likely focus on a few of his newest songs. He will also take requests from fans.

There is no charge to attend the concert, but donations toward the production costs will be accepted.

“It's a free show because music is something that brings people together, and offering high-quality live music free of charge breaks down any monetary barriers and gives the audience a chance to share a powerful moment together,” Wheeler explained.

For more information about the concert, readers may visit The artists’ websites may be accessed at and

Millersville Advertiser - 01/18/2012

Willow Street Advertiser - 01/18/2012

Hempfield-Mountville Merchandiser - 01/18/2012

Manheim Township Merchandiser - 01/18/2012