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Who Is "Calling Simon?"

by Laural Porter

kgw.com

Posted on November 14, 2006 at 3:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:33 PM

I listened to the soundtrack playing in the background at the church in Eugene.
The music had a good beat and put me in a good mood.
I wondered who the artist was. I tried to remember the melody and a few lyrics, so I could ask someone later.

Band members scurried about the auditorium setting up for a performance that night, titled "Local Hero Tour".
The program featured the Christian rock band, "Calling Simon", and guest speaker, Christian Bagge, who lost both his legs in Iraq.
That night, Christian would talk about his unimaginable loss, when a roadside bomb went off under the humvee he was driving.
His story wouldn't dwell on the grim details and the horrors of war, but rather he would deliver a message of hope.

He told me he would ask the audience, "If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you change? Are your priorities where they should be?"

As I talked to Christian about what he would say that night,another catchy song boomed out of the church sound system. This one was good,too. I hadn't heard it before, and again wondered who is the artist? Is it the same band as the last song I heard?

Levi Bagge tuned his guitar, did final sound checks, looked around to make sure a microphone was on stage for his older brother, Christian's inspirational talk.
I asked Levi what it was like for him when Christian was called to duty in Iraq.
He told me any politics he had went out the window.
All Levi cared about was the safety of his little brother.
He just wanted the drummer in the band, they started together when they were kids,
to come home safely.
Levi said everything else he heard about the Iraq war was white noise.

The news knocked the wind out of Levi Bagge. His brother was badly injured in Iraq, and recovering in Germany. They weren't sure he would make it.
The emotions from those early days of worry and prayer are still pretty raw.
Levi told me, until recently, he had a hard time singing with his band without crying.
Levi wrote a song for his brother, his personal hero, "Tatoo Stars".
Christian has star tatoos on his arms. The song sings of glory days Levi knew would come again.

Again, the music caught my attention. I asked Levi, "Who is that band we've been listening to?

"That's us," Levi told me.

"You!", I exclaimed.

"Yeah, 'Calling Simon', our band."

I told him how great I thought their band sounded, and how much I looked forward to hearing them live later that night.

Christian has learned to do a lot without his legs. He's learned to use high- tech prosthetic limbs. He has run around the South Lawn of the White House with President Bush.
He's learned to perfect his walk with the use of a microchip in one prosthetic limb that adjusts to his gait.
But, he still hasn't learned to use the foot pedals on the drums.

"He was a great drummer. Producers said he was quite proficient", Levi told me.
Christian is worried he can't ever be that good again.
Levi thinks one day Christian will try to play the drums again.
"All in good time", he said.

It's only been six months. He's already run with the President. Who knows what's next?

Christian took the stage that night in Eugene and got a standing ovation.
The audience lined up for his autograph, and to shake his hand.
To all those in attendance, he is a true local hero.

And the music... it was even better in person. The song Levi wrote for his heroic brother, "Tatoo Stars", gave me good bumps.
Their other songs that praised the Lord and sang of hope and love were not only inspirational, they were rockin'.
I brought two "Calling Simon" CDs home with me, and my children ages 12 to 16 loved them.

"Calling Simon" is a great Christian rock band. It's also become a brother's calling.
It's Levi Bagge embracing his brother, his hero, including him in the band they created.

One day, Christian may play the drums again, but even if he doesn't, he's still providing a steady beat for the band and all those who listen.

I invite you to meet Christian and Levi Bagge on Thursday night 11/16 on Newschannel 8 at 11pm in a special report, "Wounds of War".

You can also watch it here on KGW.com under the video and special news report links.

Also check out the band "Calling Simon". Here's a link to their Myspace website.


Laural Porter

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