Observer — May 6, 2011
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The Band XIT18 Puts Life, Love & Reality Into Every Song

Colleen Rae Correspondent

Songs are written every day. Gervaseus Nerik woke up the morning after Wes Leonard collapsed at the Fennville Blackhawk game with Bridgman and the words and music of a song flowed from his mind like a gentle stream.

He knew this song was different. He was very moved by Fennville’s loss as he is also a resident of the small rural community.

Just as he got out of bed he saw a hearse go by the window and he experienced an epiphany. He felt an instant connection to Wes Leonard as the song continued to fill his thoughts. The song is called, Under a Fennville Moon.

“I don’t really consider myself a musician,” Gervaseus says, even though he plays cello, trombone, piano and guitar, and is the leader of a performing band, Xit18. Gervaseus is an innovative guitar player.

“He even plays a song with one hand,” his sister says. “And he is an excellent cook!”

This reporter can attest to Gervaseus’s cooking talents. He served delicious homemade pizza for lunch.

“Our songs are a living chronicle of our lives,” the songwriter notes. “Each one of our band members put their touch on the song, Under a Fennville Moon.

“I’ve sung ever since I was a kid, but when I grew up I worked in The corporate industry for awhile, started two businesses, one an Internet kiosk, and an arcade/Internet café, Starship Earth in Grand Rapids. My sister, Mary, lost her two daughters in a car crash in 2000, and that changed my values and lifestyle.

“I was still a responsible person raising a family, but I began writing songs. I started a band and we played in Starship Earth for a while. My wife, Jeanne. And I lived in South Haven by the Exit 18, at I-196, so we decided that would be an appropriate name for the band. Also when a person arrives at the age of 18 they are on the border between being a child and becoming an adult.”

There are six members of Gervaseus’s band: Gervaseus is lead vocals and song writer; Teague Wycoff plays lead guitar and backing vocals; TJ Lavery is on bass and is also a Fennville High School graduate and was a member of the Fennville Junior High basketball team and lettered in football as a Blackhawk; Josh Miller plays rhythm guitar; Chad Hildenbrand on drums; and Mary Hopson, Gervaseus’s sister, on harmony vocals and key board. Mike Clark is the security/sound man.

Gervaseus continues, “I am a stay-at-home dad; Jeanne works at Haworth. I am a family man; I care for our 1-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl. I am able to work on my music at home. We want to give this song to Wes and his family.

“The song, Under a Fennville Moon. Was inspired by and is about Wes. We recorded it in a studio In Grand Rapids. We have set up websites where the song can be downloaded and will arrange for all the proceeds to go directly into the bank account of the Leonard fund.”

The band, Xit18, was featured live on One Seven Show on Fox 17, and performed the song, Under a Fennville Moon, Thursday, April 28th, at 5 p.m.

Mary tells about the loss of her two daughters.

“Amber was 13 years old and Brook was 14. They were both cheerleaders at Bangor High School. They were coming home from school with four kids in a car. Three of them were killed instantly in a crash with another vehicle. I can understand what the Leonards are going through. There is a void from the loss that can never be filled.”

Gervaseus and Jeanne attend Davenport University and Mary is a student at Tulip City Beauty College in Holland.

“We will have a full sales report available,” Gervaseus states. “All the profits earned for this song will be donated to the Leonard fund.”

Here are the websites where the song, Under a Fennville Moon is available:

Www.FennvilleMoon.Com,www.FennvilleMoon.Org,, and

Websites for the band Xit18 are:,,, and