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Bend group cancels concert after crash kills bandmate


The local band Corner Gospel Explosion was supposed to be playing at Bite of Bend Friday evening, but the concert was canceled due to a horrible tragedy that took place Thursday morning.

Band member Stephen Chase Mickel was killed in a car crash south of Sunriver.

“I saw him two days ago, so it doesn’t feel like he’s really gone. Two nights ago, we had band practice,” band member Brad Parsons said Friday.

The crash happened off South Century Drive, according to Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies. The car left a curve and rolled several times.

“He was on his way to work yesterday morning when he lost control of the vehicle he was driving on the way to work,” said Westside Church’s student pastor, Evan Earwicker.

Mickel, 21, had joined the band a year ago, playing keyboard and synthesizer..

“His first show was at Bite of Bend in 2015. So today would have been exactly a year,” Parsons said.

Chase had plans to return to the stage Friday night at Bite of Bend. Corner Gospel Explosion canceled the performance after the accident. Instead, his friends and band mates spent the day trying to make sense of their loss. They shared tears, laughs and memories.

“It feels real, and then it doesn’t feel real,” Parsons said. ” It feels like this is reality, then it also feels like it’s some sort of dream you’re having.”

Earwicker said Mickel was loved by Bend’s indie music community, as well as the church family. His father is a pastor and Mickel worked as a worship director at the Westside Church of Bend.

“He loved his beard. He loved his music. He loved God,” Earwicker said.

The band will be performing the next two weekends to help raise money for the family’s funeral expenses. Mickel is survived by his parents, grandparents and three younger brothers.

The funeral will be held on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Westside Church and is open to the public.

The Mickel family has set up a scholarship fund in Chase’s name at SELCO Credit Union. Donations also can be sent to Westside Church, 2051 NW Shevlin Park Drive, Bend 97703, with checks made out to the fund,

The family says the scholarship will be used to fund young people’s mission trips, something he loved to do.

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