Chris Rohman, lead guitarist for Sanctus Real rehearses at the Farmington Civic Center on Thursday.
Chris Rohman, lead guitarist for Sanctus Real rehearses at the Farmington Civic Center on Thursday. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
FARMINGTON — When Ben Kristijanto was in high school, his father came up to him and his brother, Bill Kristijanto, and told them he had a feeling they had been called by God to start a music ministry.

The two brothers had little music training, but they began to take lessons and learned how to produce an album. In 2004, their band, Bread of Stone, released its first album, which they produced themselves.

On Thursday, Bread of Stone performed at the Farmington Civic Center as part of the Promises Tour with Sanctus Real and JJ Heller.

The tour takes its name from the song "Promises" on Sanctus Real's most recent album "Run."

"Promises" was written by the band's lead singer, Matt Hammitt. He wrote the song as a reminder of the biblical verses referencing God's promise to never give people more than they can handle.

In September 2010, Hammitt's son, Bowen, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a serious congenital heart defect. The left side of Bowen's heart is severely underdeveloped and, only a few days after his birth, he had to undergo his first open-heart surgery. Over the course of his life, Bowen has faced numerous complications, including a stroke.

Throughout everything, Hammitt received encouragement from people. One day, someone came up to him and told him to "hold on to the promises."

Sanctus Real began 16 years ago in the basement of guitarist Chris Rohman's parents' house. At the time, Rohman was 16 years old.

Rohman, who started playing guitar at 13, said he enjoyed music and grew up attending church.

"It's where my heart was," Rohman said.

Sanctus Real grew from the basement to become a well-known Christian band. In 2010, the band's album, "Pieces Of A Real Heart," was nominated for a Grammy.

"There's a community of people because there's a church body across the country," Rohman said.
Members of Sanctus Real rehearses at the Farmington Civic Center on Thursday.
Members of Sanctus Real rehearses at the Farmington Civic Center on Thursday. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)


The Promises tour has taken Sanctus Real across the country. The band, along with JJ Heller and Bread of Stone, will play today in Flagstaff, Ariz., and in Sandy, Utah, on Saturday.

Bread of Stone recently released a new record called "The Real Life."

"We get too caught up in the glitz and glam of life," Ben Kristijanto said.

He said the band hopes the album sends a message that reminds people that "there's more to life than just the busyness of life."

Bread of Stone's message is eternal, rather than based on what people currently possess, Ben Kristijanto said.

"Whatever you have, you'll take it to the grave with you," he said.

After returning to Bill Kristijanto's birthplace, Indonesia, the Kristijanto brothers decided to create The Light Project, which focuses on helping "scavengers." Scavengers, Ben Kristijanto explained, are people in Third World countries who live in landfills, surviving on trash. The Light Project provides them with daily necessities, such as food and shelter.

Bread of Stone donates a portion of its merchandise sales to The Light Project. One of the things the band sells to raise money are bracelets made from broken guitar strings. The bracelet serves as a reminder of God's love, Ben Kristijanto said.

"God can still take the broken things of this world and turn them into something beautiful," he said.

 

Hannah Grover can be reached at hgrover@daily-times.com; 505-564-4652. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover.