Initial sound checks for Grand Canyon University’s new club-like
music venue, Thunderground, hit 110 decibels. To put this into perspective, a
jet engine registers about 120 decibels at takeoff. With acoustics like that,
it is no surprise that Thunderground has brought Christian music alive on GCU’s
central-Phoenix campus, featuring four concerts already, with several others
booked. Thunderground gives students and Christian music fans the opportunity
to experience national recording artists in an intimate setting.
Scott Fehrenbacher, who oversees faith-based marketing and development at
GCU, said the Thunderground concept stemmed from interest in developing a
“small, intimate Christian club” that would create
community among students and generate a buzz around the music industry in
Nashville, where GCU has developed relationships to bring major Christian acts
to campus. But unlike big shows, the exclusivity of seeing performers in
such an off-the-radar setting is designed to appeal to current and prospective
With room for roughly 600 fans, Fehrenbacher
said Thunderground “allows for an intimacy you can’t find anywhere else.”
GCU has booked artists that exemplify a Christian
lifestyle and who can help students connect with their faith through contemporary
music. The fall Thunderground lineup has included a mix of artists and
genres such as Thousand Foot Krutch, Manic Drive, Andy Mineo, Jason Castro,
and Group 1 Crew. While Thousand Foot Krutch is known for its high-energy
hard rock, performers such as American
Idol’s Jason Castro provide a mellower singer-songwriter show.
Just an hour after completing his recent
Thunderground concert, Jason Castro tweeted, “I think tonight was my favorite
show to date… I had such a blast! Thanks GCU!!”
On Nov. 2, as hip-hop artist Lecrae wraps up his “Unashamed Tour”
headlining performance at GCU Arena, students can make their way over to
Thunderground for an after-party type of show by one of that tour’s
performers, Andy Mineo.
It will be the only after-concert show on the entire Unashamed Tour.
Mineo said he has played in similar-size venues at Syracuse University and
Azusa Pacific University. Thunderground has a shot at becoming something
special, he said.
“Crowds like this are some of my favorites,” Mineo
said. “It’s an opportunity to engage the fans. You can see on their faces when
they like or don’t like something. I try to be approachable, and after these
shows you can hang out with people.”
Next on the concert lineup, Group 1 Crew will be
performing at Thunderground on Dec. 3.
The Thunderground stage is located in the lower
level of GCU’s food court, Thunder Alley, in the same nook near the bowling
lanes where autographed guitars – such as one by Switchfoot, inscribed with “Go Lopes!” – line the
walls. Folk-rock singer Moriah Peters,
a GCU student, performed at an album-release party at the venue last
There’s also a personal connection that led
Thousand Foot Krutch into the opening spot for the Thunderground series. Band
member Trevor McNevan
wrote GCU’s anthem, “Feel The Place Go BOOM!” — which is played at home
basketball games at GCU Arena.
As GCU is committed to encouraging a Christian lifestyle and
community with the music featured at Thunderground, there is a stronger
commitment to providing students with a quality, value-based education. Since 1949,
Grand Canyon University has been helping students find their purpose and
achieve their potential by preparing them to pursue their chosen
career. As a Christian university, GCU also encourages students to find
their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and
ethics to their studies and to the workplace.
For more information about earning your degree at Grand Canyon
University, call 855-761-5161 or visit gcu.edu/ccm2012