There's no denying the power of music to bring people together, and for some, music branches into other realms of their lives. In the case of Marquis Kisart, who owns and operates the Melvin Theater (2912 Chippewa), one of those branches is faith.
The music venue is in full concert swing this fall. St. Louis Christian rap group Forever is set to perform the Get On My Level concert this Saturday, August 4. Later this month, Ravenhill returns to the venue, along with others scheduled through September. Tickets can be purchased on the Melvin website and at the door.
When asked why he uses music on a religious level, Kisart says, "Music affects my mood and helps determine who I hang out with. Most likely the friends I have listen to the same music I do. Music defines people."
The venue doubles as a youth center for StriveSTL, the Hope Community Worship Center's youth group. The group meets every Friday at 7:30 p.m. and is an open, free, all-ages event. For the above eighteen crowd, there are young adult services held on Sundays. The venue occasionally holds poetry readings as well.
The Melvin offers more than religion -- anyone can appreciate the community building and family friendly aim of the Melvin, which opened in June of 2011.
"Not everything that goes on here is Christian. We just ask people to keep it clean because we have all ages here," says Kisart.
"The mission starting out was to give the kids in this area something to do around here. To help change the neighborhood," says Kisart. "Kids that would end up on the wrong side of the tracks, they find their way going a down a different path. We give them a place to go on Friday and Saturday nights."
The venue supports local and touring bands. Local band Rio caused quite a stir one night. As well as Jimmy Needham and Trip Lee, who almost sold out the 500-person venue. "It's a fun time for people. The energy is really exciting," says Kisart.
A St. Louis native, Kisart was raised in the religious tradition. His father is Reverend Kieth Kisart, pastor of Hope Community Worship. After a collegiate football injury, Marquis returned to the faith and found his calling in youth ministry. "I found out I liked being around kids. You know there's the religious message and then there's the message of life skills. There's a huge part of making sure these kids know how to be successful and are told to follow their dreams," says Marquis.
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