By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 10, 2016
Published: July 10, 2016
THE spiritual transformation of Mario and Anne Lacovone didn’t begin at a nature’s retreat or deep reflection on the present. It began on an ordinary Sunday with the TV on—and smoldering marijuana joints in their hands. Cocaine and marijuana had been the outward symbol of the ‘rock-n- roll’ life they had been living for years although there were rumblings of change in their hearts when Mario and Anne Locavone first met through a friend.
People in Squamish know them both as The Overcomers, a band whose music talks about walking a spiritual path and love for each other and for Jesus. But their own personal path to overcome challenges started more than 20 years ago. Mario was a bass player and played with successful band called The Pulse, part of a new wave of music which won the Battle of the Bands. Anne, meanwhile, had been a singer with various bands in Western Canada. When they met and became friends, they both realised they had been living identical lives, defined as it was by drugs and music and late-night partying.
“Breakfast was coffee and a joint and lunch was a sandwich and a joint and a lot of late-night partying and yet when we met we were both searching for ways to leave it behind and begin new,” says Anne.
That epiphanous moment came one day as they sat down to watch an aptly-titled show called “It’s a new day,” a Christian TV talk show. It was a pivotal moment for both as they heard the host, Williard Thiessen, talk about the love that Jesus has for everyone and the ability that love had to change lives. The preacher asked for those watching to say a prayer and both Anne and Mario were repeating after him in unison, hand in hand: “Please come into my heart and make it new.” Anne reflects on that moment when their spiritual transformation began.
“We had both come to a place of surrender in our lives as individuals as we had known it to be in the past. We were both ready to make some changes in our lives, quit the drugs, the hardcore party lifestyle we were used to living, and as God would have it, we met at just the right time and just the right place,” she says.
The day Anne knew was soon coming and it was thrilling for her to realize Mario had been reading the same Bible as her. “It was thrilling because every guy I had ever dated, mocked God, or rejected any kind of divine being, and here we were and both reading the same translation! It was a language we both could identify and understand. I think each of us knowing we both had met someone who was on the same spiritual path made the decision to change an easy one. We had each other to walk it out with,” she says.
Both quit drugs and started going to the church and in 1997 started the Overcomers, named to reflect their own journey of overcoming the negative forces of life. Attending the local churches also aided that change as they realised how non-judgmental and accepting people in the church were. “We strongly believe That God has brought us together for the purpose of lifting up the name of Jesus and exalting him. Our purpose is to bring Him praise, after all, we once were lost and now we are found in Him,” says Mario.
The songs and the music of Overcomers bring the listeners to a spiritually uplifting place of hope and faith with true stories from a life devoted to god. Every third or fourth Tuesday of the month, the Overcomers explore God through music at the Brackendale Art Gallery at this monthly event called UNITE. A a free community event that consists of one full hour of worship music, UNITE brings people together as they meditate and sit in peace and listen to the devotional music.
“Some of the people who are regular attenders at Unite have had some tragedy or pain in their lives, and it seems to be a safe place for them to come and rest and find peace. Others come because they feel it’s an opportunity to get closer to God,” says Mario.
Singing at this monthly event has also enabled them to observe and understand how music can heal and restore and make people whole. One of their popular songs, The Crime, speaks of the struggle of finding ones faith and staying strong in it when all around them others may not understand or agree. The songs and music is their spiritual expression and they are the medium for singing God’s glory. “I feel like it’s his idea that we do this and we are just living the way he made us. Personally, when we see people blessed by our music, that is the reward and that is what keeps us filled with faith. That God would use us to bring people joy and happiness, there is no greater joy than that,” says Anne. The Overcomers will perform at Brackendale Art Gallery on June 21.