Things looked bright at the beginning of 2013. We had the EP and had played seven shows in as many months, despite having nothing in December. Also, in conversations with Sara DeWitt it came out that she did play guitar a very little bit, and was interested in exploring working with the band. She came to rehearsals early in January, where vocals and guitars were the primary focus, and decided that she wanted to do this. Her inclusion meant that a couple songs which were at the bottom of the repertoire list because they needed another voice or another instrument could now be incorporated; Mark bought an electric guitar for her. In addition to the songs they had sung last year (all of which would sound better with one more person) they would be able to do Time Bomb, Walkin' In the Woods, Holocaust, and He Touched Me.
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Then, at a rehearsal early in the year, Nick suggested that the band needed to include covers. It was good to do original music, he said, but bands only succeed in their early years because they do songs the audience already knows. Mark responded that the band had over the years done a number of covers, all of which had been dropped because they required more instruments or a female vocalist, but at this point they could all be returned to service because with himself on bass and Kyle on lead, Sara brought that female vocalist and a rhythm guitar, and Jonathan could cover the fifth instrument on his keyboards, whether it was a second lead guitar on Strong Tower (Kutless) or Shout to the Lord (Darlene Zschech), or a second bass in In the Light (DC Talk), or replacing the impact guitar in Like a Child (Jars of Clay) or the flute in Indescribable (Laura Story) (Covers) or Amazing Love (Newsboys). These had all been part of the repertoire either of 7dB when Tyler was part of it, or later when Brittany was part of Collision, and the parts were reprinted and adjusted, and work began on restoring these to the mix. It was sounding good.
Inspired by the completion of the band, Mark wrote Looking For the Key and the one he called The Book Song; the band liked the sound of them, and of other projects he hoped to do.
Then rather abruptly in March Nick announced that he could no longer continue with the band. He had sometimes complained that he had too little time to spend with his family (he was a long-haul trucker during the week), but it still came as a surprise. At the same time, Jonathan announced he needed a hiatus--he had an invitation to play a party, maybe two, one a birthday and the other a wedding reception, which would require him to learn a whole new repertoire in a few months--but he needed the money and did not feel he could say no. It was his hope and expectation that he would return to the band after these, early in the summer, and we agreed that that would work. In the meantime, Mark and Kyle would work with Sara to bring her up to speed particularly on guitar, as well as getting her comfortable with her vocals.
On May 5th, Mark was invited to play at Living Water Coffeehouse, and when he mentioned it Jonathan and Sara both offered to provide some backup for him on a couple of songs. He was back, with Sara, on June 6th, and then played with Sara at the Laurel Hill Bible Church Summer Family Festival on June 22nd. Kyle was expected but did not make it, because he was called into work that morning.
By the time Jonathan was ready to return (and eager to do so), there was a new drummer. When we had played at In the Company of Jesus late in 2012, we had shared the stage with a band then called One of Six. They had recently done a search for a drummer, and when they heard we were looking they gave us a name of one they had not picked for themselves. On July 6th he auditioned at a practice at Jonathan's house; he had come out of another band with a harder rock sound, and was eager to play, and had both serious equipment and a practice space. We were soon making the long trek to the Camden County home of Camden City fire department Captain Daniel Payne for rehearsals, getting his equipment integrated with ours, and teaching him the songs from the EP.
During this time, Kyle was making it to very few rehearsals. We were looking for someone to replace him for 2014, when he was expected to leave for the Navy, but had not found anyone. Then on September 14th, the band played on somewhat short notice at a barbecue at Gloucester County Community Church, and Kyle did not show. Mark had anticipated the possibility, and arranged the concert accordingly, but it meant we could not do some of our favorite songs.
The next day, Daniel announced that for very complicated reasons he could not at that point share, he was not going to be able to continue with the band. The day after that, Jonathan announced that he was putting a lot of time into becoming part of the music worship team at his new church, and would also be unable to continue with Collision. Things were looking bleak.
It was not over yet, though. On October 4th, the Living Water Coffeehouse had a cancellation and called Sara in the hope that we could play, and although it was just the two of us (even Mike was unavailable) we managed to impress the audience with two voices and one guitar. We were still working on Sara's guitar playing.
There would be one more concert that year, also on short notice. Mike was planning to attend an annual retreat, when he got a call that said the scheduled band had canceled. He scrambled, calling Jonathan, and Mark, and Sara, trying to get a band organized for the next night, November 2nd. Jonathan liked the idea, but Sara was unavailable because of prior family commitments, so together with Mark they tossed together a concert of songs mostly from the band's repertoire, with each throwing in a solo or two to complete the set. It went very well, and the retreat organizers officially said that they hope to have the band back in 2014.
Then, at the end of a rehearsal on November 16th, Sara's mother interfered. She said that she and her husband did not think Sara should play an electric guitar and did not want an electric guitar in their home; that it was their (that is, Sara's parents') understanding that we were looking for a vocalist, and no one ever said anything to them about her playing a guitar. There was no arguing the point; Sara's mother was adamant that we should respect their wishes and take the guitar and amplifier away from their home. We had lost our rhythm guitar player. Sara hoped to continue as vocalist in the band, but the rule had been ever since the band had become Collision that no one is on stage who does not play an instrument.
At that point, without Kyle, without Jonathan, without a drummer, without a rhythm guitar player, Mark and Mike got together over coffee to discuss the future. Mike remained optimistic, saying God wanted to use this music, these gifts, and would send musicians to us if we just took the steps to find them. Once that happened, if Sara still wanted to be part of it, we would gladly tell her where the rehearsals would be held and do our best to include her in the mix. Maybe Mike would resume playing bass; he would have to practice, but he had a new prosthetic arm designed to hold a pick and pluck or strum the strings, so it could be done.
Meanwhile, Sara's mother had created enough of an offense with her attack on Mark and the band that Sara felt uncomfortable continuing even as a vocalist, and resigned.
Thus once again as we look into a new year, things are dim.