After 33 years of music and ministry, Christian rock pioneer PETRA will come to a close. December 2005 will mark the end to a ministry that has boldly and consistently proclaimed the gospel in the United States and abroad. The decision to retire the band was mutual by all members.
"It has been a privilege and honor to represent our Savior and participate in His Great Commission. We have nothing but thanks to God for all He has done," says PETRA founder, guitarist and primary songwriter Bob Hartman.
"God used PETRA in my life in so many ways, as He did in so many other lives," says lead singer since 1986, John Schlitt. "I am truly thankful for having been part of PETRA. We've had a good long run and have seen so much. We've seen God's hand at work in our music on every continent and in every language," he says.
The band has impacted generations of musicians and fans alike over the years with over seven million CDs sold, four Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards and an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. PETRA, initially formed in 1972 by Hartman on vocals and guitars, paved the way for the rock genre perhaps more than any other in the Christian music industry. Though a rotating cast of musicians comprised PETRA's lineup over the years, the band is closing 2005 strong with over 20 albums to its credit, the latest being the 2003 Grammy-nominated Jekyll & Hyde. At present, Schlitt and Hartman have made no immediate plans for the future.
"I'm not sure what the future will bring for me," says Schlitt, "but when God chooses to show us His will, then we just go in faith and walk in faith toward Him. He has never let us down, and He never will."
There are currently talks of a live album or box set to release in the future. Final PETRA tours in the United States and Europe are in the planning stages. There will be no further concerts booked after this year.
"PETRA has always been one of the biggest names in Christian rock," says Inpop Records President Wes Campbell. "PETRA's contributions to our industry are innumerable, and the band was very instrumental in the beginning stages of newsboys career. We are honored to have supported PETRA in its ministry and music," he says.
Farewell June, the organic pop band, will be performing with PETRA on their Farewell Tour this fall from September 30-November 20, 2005.
"PETRA has been the blueprint for Christian rock musicians. Farewell June is ecstatic that PETRA chose us to be part of this historical and epic tour