Traditional Division

Traditional Division
Pat Brueggen, Chris Rogers, Andrew Brueggen, Jon Kircher
Samuel Brueggen and Tyler Kircher
It was quite entertaining interviewing Traditional Division band members at a recent Elk Mound Youth Rally.  Since it is a rare youth event in the Diocese of La Crosse these days that does not feature their sing-along, shout-along, dance-along Christian music, they are familiar faces and, to many teens, local heroes.
Traditional Division's teasing, joking and enthusiastic hearts made for a somewhat rowdy interview but in the end, left me with a clear picture of six guys having a blast, doing what they enjoy most in life and rocking out for the Lord. 


There has been some big news for the band in the last several months.  First, they added a member, Chris Rogers, on Batman guitar.  You may know Chris as the Director for the Diocese of La Crosse Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.  Chris came to the area a few years ago from Nashville, TN and after a few jam sessions with the group they asked him to join.


The other five members are from just two families.  Pat Brueggen (drums), is the father of Andrew (bass guitar) and Sam (keyboard). The Kirchers, Jon (guitar) and Tyler (vocals and general mayhem), are brothers. 


The band origins go back to 8th grade Catholic school in Cashton, WI, about 30 miles east of La Crosse.  All four boys were students at the school and Pat was their religion teacher there.  When Andrew started playing bass, Jon got interested in guitar and they started making four years of talk about starting a band a reality.  Jon notes, “When we actually started the band, and we had our first gig, I think I actually knew how to play G, C, and D.”  Tyler chimes in jokingly saying, "and that played all our songs.”


Pat's early experiences with another band helped the group to form and be successful.  Now it is he who keeps the guys focused and on track.


I told them that when you google Traditional Division you get a lot of math coming up instead of a Christian rock band.  Samuel was the only member particularly happy about that, being a guy with a major in industrial technology. 


I asked Andrew to explain the band name.  “Well, the Church is full of tradition.  Like with Chris and Dad being the older people [insert giggles and teasing], we are following the traditions they passed on to us, and the Church traditions as well.  But then we also know that there’s a division – church and state – and with all that, even good Catholics don’t follow the traditions of the Church. . .  So we are bringing “tradition and division” together, in one big US.”
At this time three of the six members are working in youth ministry. Pat at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Holmen, Andrew at St. Pat’s in Onalaska and Chris, for the Diocese.  Sam, Tyler, Andrew and Jon are all college students.


I asked what the band would say to older people who don’t understand all the singing, arm waving and general excitement that comes with a youth rally experience.  Tyler responded, “I think when [the audience gets] stoked and throwing their arms around, people older than us might not have experienced something like that.  Hey, you can be crazy and Catholic / Christian at the same time.  You don’t have to always be solemn and quiet. There’s a place for both and that’s a part of our mission. You can live out your Catholic faith and let others know about it.”


The other big Traditional Division news is their recent endorsement by now-Archbishop Listecki. 


“I have seen Traditional Division at several youth rallies and retreats.  Their high energy engages the audience, creating a contagious excitement.  They are also able to create a reflective mood that calls the young people to pay attention to how God is speaking to them.  I would recommend Traditional Division to any parish or diocese who is looking to have an electrifying, spirit-filled event.”


Archbishop Jerome Listecki


When asked about the future, Andrew was looking forward to his upcoming marriage in 2011.  Other than that the feeling was the same all around.  They just want to keep doing what they are doing now.  Jon shared how being in Traditional Division had really helped him and Tyler to move on with life after the death of their brother. 


Tyler, looking into the future said, “I just want to be as into my faith then as I am now.  I don’t want to be scared to go out in public and be a proud Catholic.” 


Pat shared, “This is a great honor for me to be able to hang out with my boys, (Jon, Chris and Tyler too) and in return, hopefully they like hanging out with me on these gigs.  This is a lot of fun, but our wives, Cindy (Pat’s wife) and Elizabeth (Chris’s), and other family members make great sacrifices so we are able to accomplish this. We are honored and very blessed to be able to play music with our friends and family and then have a chance to meet so many great people.”


Pat goes on to say, “This band is not just a band, but a ministry that is rooted in Christ’s call to His disciples, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.’  It is our hope that this ministry helps people to see Christ alive and working in their lives right now so that their hearts are stirred to join us in following Christ’s call.”
Interview date:  February 27, 2010. 
Thanks to Marko Boskovic for help with the video for the interview.