25 years for The CREW


The CREW celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

by James Morgan

It’s a crystal-clear contemporary Christian sound. That was the first thing that entered my mind when listening to The CREW for the first time. This quartet of LCC Lutherans from western Canada is celebrating 25 years of making music that not only demonstrates harmony in song, but living in harmony with the Lord. Joel Haberstock, Gary Brucker, Paul-David Mercier, and Dave Lieffertz were students at Concordia University College of Alberta in Edmonton in 1998 when they formed their group to be an all-Canadian song-leading group for LCC’s first National Youth Gathering.

Since then, they’ve performed at churches, schools, conferences, youth events, even weddings, funerals, and football games across Canada and the United States. They’ve also been part of short-term missions in Ukraine and Guatemala. And in the past quarter-century, The CREW has also recorded ten albums, the first simply named The CREW in 1990. Their most recent release is A CREW Christmas, and came out just in October 2013. That album is now on sale, just in time for the Christmas season.

The CREW has just finished the western Canada portion of its 25th Anniversary Tour, which Dave Lieffertz says will likely continue into the next year. “We look forward to seeing more friends when we return to Ontario and the United States at some point in the future. We have always been open to see where it is God may be leading us; and thanks to our wives (and other amazing supporters) to make it logistically possible, He has done more than we have ever asked or imagined!”

There are a few things that motivate The CREW in its music and ministry and have kept the group going since 1988. One in particular though stands out for Dave Lieffertz: “Number one is knowing that there are some seriously hurting people who need to hear—and will never tire of hearing—that they are worth something, and in fact everything!—to Jesus.”

There are some seriously hurting people who need to hear—and will never tire of hearing—that they are worth something, and in fact everything!—to Jesus.

In addition to the crisp harmonies and tight accapella arrangements that characterize The CREW’s musical talent, the group is almost as notable for its humour. The group’s website features a logo of four circles, only one of which has hair drawn on it (all members except for Paul-David are bald).

Band member biographies on the site read like a parody of the long-running Hinterland Who’s Who shorts on Canadian television. Gary Brucker’s biography tries to convince readers he is a sort of prairie-raised James Bond, allegedly having served on joint CIA and British SAS assignments.  Originally from Medicine Hat, Brucker now lives in Kelowna BC where he is Director of Family Life at First Lutheran Church and Program Director for an agency called Courage for Youth. Joel Haberstock is also known as Lepidus Cacophonus and has traits endemic to its original habitat of Southern Saskatchewan). Haberstock left his original habitat of Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and now lives in Vernon, B.C. where he works part-time for St. John’s Lutheran Church and also is a part-time junior high school teacher at Vernon Christian School. Paul David Mercier is a freelance musician and actor in Edmonton where he also drives a school bus and volunteers with Servant Leadership at Hope Mission. Dave Lieffertz is a freelance jazz musician and piano teacher in Chemainus, B.C. All four members of The CREW are husbands and fathers too.


James Morgan is a writer and former broadcaster living in Gatineau, Quebec where he is completing a Ph.D in History at the University of Ottawa. His home congregation is Trinity Lutheran near Gowanstown, Ontario, and he also worships at the Lutheran Tri-Parish of Western Quebec.

Posted By: Matthew Block
Posted On: November 15, 2013
Posted In: Feature Stories, Headline, National News,

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