Daniel Oberreuter was working for a church in Vancouver, Washington, when he realized there was a need for two parts of his life.
“I realized I could put music together with my faith,” said Oberreuter, frontman for the Portland, Oregon-based The Thirsting, which will headline the Built Upon a Rock Fest Sept. 17 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth.
And not just Duluth — the band has toured nationally and even played the main stage at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. Oberreuter also does solo acoustic parish mission concerts.
In an interview with The Northern Cross, Oberreuter said he was a cradle Catholic but didn’t take his faith too seriously until a first confession at age 16 where his penance was to pray a daily rosary. “I began to do that,” he said.
He ended up going to the University of Portland for a degree in theology and even considered the priesthood.
He had played guitar in high school, and music was a part of his life, he said. So with “more zeal than brains,” he says, he started The Thirsting in 2006. The band has now released two albums, “Companion of the Lamb” and “Universal Youth,” with work on a third wrapping up, but probably not in time for their visit to Duluth.
“I just really felt called to promote the rosary and the Eucharist, those two things,” he said.
If you’re looking for a list of Catholic bands that influenced him, you might be surprised. “I grew up with REM, U2, and Green Day,” Oberreuter said. He adds that if you combined those three and made them Catholic, “that’s The Thirsting.”
And as that suggests, the band is enjoyed not only by youth but also by people who “are like 30, 40, 50,” Oberreuter said.
He said touring has brought perspective, seeing both the good things happening in the church and problems, especially on what he considers “mission creep” in the church, with different groups — good in themselves — ending up creating division. The main focus, he said, should be “getting our town or our country to heaven” through an authentically Catholic life.
And by “authentic” he means being rooted in the Eucharist, which he calls a “nuclear bomb inside every tabernacle.”
“My rock band isn’t going to fix these issues,” he said. “But I’m trying to offer help.”
During the outdoor concert in Duluth, set for the grounds of Holy Rosary School, there will be Eucharistic Adoration happening in the Cathedral, and Oberreuter says he often will tell people if they need to go see Jesus rather than hearing part of the concert, they should go.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t be entertaining. The Thirsting is known for its live shows with “lots of energy.”
“My goal as an entertainer is I want to make each person in that audience connect with me,” Oberreuter said. “… My whole goal is that each person that goes to that walks away feeling like ‘I was a part of that event.’”
For those who want to be part of the event, good news: It’s free! Gates open at 5 p.m., and a local act, the Aly Aleigha Band, will open things from 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Thirsting will play from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. In addition to Eucharistic Adoration during the concert, confession will be available in the Cathedral afterwards. To check out the bands, see www.aly-aleigha.com and www.thethirstingcatholic.com. You can also text the word “Catholic” to 31996 to get a free album by The Thirsting. For more information on the Built Upon a Rock Fest, visit www.builtuponarockfest.com.
— By Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross