by Joyce A. Mitchell
Special to The Leaven
OVERLAND PARK — Sometimes a song transports you back in time.
Mikey Needleman hopes that the one that someday accomplishes that for several hundred youngsters to Prairie Star Ranch this summer will be his.
Needleman’s “All For You” has been selected as the theme song for this year’s camp sessions. The song is the title cut off the recently released six-song CD of the Mikey Needleman Band.
“I hope it will be a song they hear years from now and it takes them back to camp,” said Needleman. Maybe they’ll even remember the dance moves they learned to go along with it.
Needleman wrote the song after 2009’s National Catholic Youth Conference, where he performed with his band before 23,000 teens.
“‘All For You’ was written with the NCYC experience in mind — here in Kansas City [in 2009], seeing all those thousands of teens worshiping together,” he said.
Needleman is music minister at Holy Spirit Church in Overland Park, where he is a member. He also teaches music at Church of the Nativity, Leawood, and plays about 100 shows a year with his band, in addition to his providing music at about four Masses a week in the Kansas City area.
Deacon Dana Nearmyer, archdiocesan consultant for evangelization and Catholic formation of youth, chose the song for the camp theme after reflecting on Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s focus for the past year.
“The camp theme always comes from the bishop’s homily and writings for the year,” Deacon Nearmyer said. “I try to suggest a couple of themes that are in line with where his heart is. This year the bishop has stressed a deeper commitment to Jesus and deeper relationship with Christ.”
Summer camps have always had a theme, but this is the first year to incorporate a theme song. The songwriter and his band will perform it live at three of the camps. Needleman is “super popular” among youth at local school appearances, Deacon Nearmyer said, and he hopes campers will want to get the album in advance of camp.
The CD, released in March, is “worship from beginning to end,” Needleman said. The styles include blues and folk, as well as a psalm, and are usable in various Catholic venues, from the contemplation of eucharistic adoration to a lively rally.
Archdiocesan youth consultant Rick Cheek calls the latest CD incredible.
“It’s very Jesus-focused . . . God-focused, Holy Spirit-focused,” he said.
Cheek often uses Needleman at youth events because he banters very naturally with the youth, talking about Jesus in an appealing way that reaches them. Cheek has tapped Needleman, in fact, to be part of the archdiocesan group heading to World Youth Day in Spain in August.
After national events like NCYC and his presentation to several thousand youth ministers at the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministers, Needleman is getting some national recognition. This summer, he will appear at Covecrest, the Life Teen summer camps near Atlanta and in Prescott, Ariz. The band regularly plays in the Manhattan area where Needleman studied at Kansas State University.
Those who admired the first CD, “Waiting for You,” may be surprised by the second effort.
“The first release was all about my life and not necessarily geared toward a prayerful experience,” Needleman said. “People loved the music and didn’t know we were a Christian band.”
But there’s no mistaking that on the second CD.
With this recording, the feeling is “this is prayer time,” he said.
Songs can be purchased through iTunes. The CD is also available at the band’s live shows or online at: www. mikeyneedleman.com. Visit the Web site for the band’s performance schedule.