While still in high school in New York, Douglas Hutchings and a few of his school friends were asked by a local priest to form a band to support the youth outreach the church was doing. And so they did. “Our whole thing is about youth—we do youth events. Instead of having your parents tell you stuff, it’s your peers.”

The band got a chance to commune with 30,000 of their peers when they were chosen to play for Pope Benedict XVI at a youth rally during his 2008 trip to New York. It was quite a feather in their cap. “There were 150 bands who applied and only four selected,” Hitchings said.

Six years later, with Hutchings in Nashville, their singer in Washington D.C., another member in Pennsylvania, and two in New York, the band is still a band. “The band is based in New York,” said Hutchings, the band’s keyboard player as well as organizer and manager, “and for our first three or four years together we were in same city. We would rehearse three or four times a week, and it was easy. Then I went to Nashville, and I thought it would never last. But it has worked.”

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Hutchings also does a lot of the writing for their primarily original song list. “We started out doing a lot of popular covers, and we still incorporate a couple of those into our set, but now the music is more original,” he said.

Hutchings graduates from college this month with a degree in music business, and he works fulltime for a booking agency through which he met singer/songwriter Sarah Hart. The two became friends, and as both were doing Christian music, they began to play a few dates together. “I love it when we can play together,” Hart said. “It’s fun and not as lonely.”

At some point, the band will no longer be peers for the younger crowd, but when asked about the future, Hutchings said he isn’t making the decisions. “If I try to micromanage God, he’ll just laugh at me. I’m learning to take it day by day and the plan will unfold itself,” he said.

Full Armor Band will open for Sarah Hart at St. Rose of Lima Academy on Dec. 9, and following Hart’s set, the band and Hart will join the audience for a sing-along. It is an Advent evening of music and fellowship for adults. The concert is café-style with appetizers and beverages.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Devine Center at St. Rose of Lima Church located at 52 Short Hills Avenue, or by phone at 973-376-1960.  Doors open at 7 p.m. for fellowship and the concert starts at 8. Space is limited, so early reservations are encouraged.

For more details on the concert and to read about Sarah Hart, visit http://thealternativepress.com/articles/a-womans-voice.