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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Natalie Grant - Wow!

Tonight was the Casting Crown's Christmas Celebration concert at the Berry Center. It was a blast from start to finish. All the performers knocked it out of the park.

Although everyone did a great job, the stand out performance was by Natalie Grant. Let me tell you, that woman can sing! If you haven't had a chance to hear her, you need to look her up and add her to your playlist. People who know me are probably in shock that I am so impressed with a particular performer because I am like Mikey from the Life cereal commercial; I don't like anyone. I think my professional career as a soloist, producer, and director has made me so darn picky.

This was my second time in the past year to hear Ms. Grant sing. What makes me so impressed with her is that she brings pure emotion to her voice. I can feel the Holy Spirit flow through her and into the crowd. There is no doubt that she is a genuine servant of God. Listening to her arrangement of "O Holy Night" brought tears to my eyes. I felt as if I was literally kneeling at the manger and looking into the face of God.

"O Holy Night" is a song that has been recorded by many artists. In my humble opinion most of the time it's done poorly. Up until tonight, there was only one person that could do that song justice. Congratulations Natalie, you are sharing the top of the hill with my mom. You both sing from the heart and with Christ as your center. I can't wait for your next stop in Houston. Have a merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, November 3, 2008

In Which I Brag About My Super-Talented Husband

In one of my favorite YouTube videos, we see Paul Potts audition for Britain's Got Talent and blow away the judges and audience with his talent. When he walked on stage, no one expected what they were about to hear. But in the end he ended up winning the entire competition.

We had a similar experience this weekend.

This past Saturday, we had a new advisor party for Garrett. My sweet husband recently changed careers and became a financial planner for Waddell & Reed. He spent the entire summer studying for his various licensing exams, passed them all with flying colors, and has been in training the last couple of months as he works to build up his business. One of the things that Waddell & Reed encourages its advisors to do is to have a party to announce the career change and to encourage friends and family to refer his services to others.

Because we need to pay the bills, y'all.

As a thank you for those that attended the party, Garrett decided to hire a piano accompanist and give a little vocal recital of some of his favorite songs.

Because the man can SING.

And I don't mean the "he has a really nice voice" kind of singing. These days anyone with a guitar and a decent voice considers himself a musician. No, my Garrett is a bonafide college-trained professional singer. He has a degree in Music Education from the University of Texas and was a choir director for 12 years. (He was encouraged by his professors to change his major to Vocal Performance, but he wanted to make a living, you know?) Besides his musical training, Garrett also helped start a muscial theatre company when he lived in Austin. He directed and acted in many productions and got great reviews. So his great voice is backed up with great showmanship.

Let me put it another way: I love Chris Tomlin, buy his CD's, and have high respect for his talent and giftedness. But I think we would all agree that Chris Tomlin is no Josh Groban. Right?

Garrett is my own personal Josh Groban. Except Garrett is a tenor and not a baritone. And Garrett's hair is short and straight and not long and curly. And come to think of it there are many more differences than I could possibly communicate, but since this paragraph is already way longer than I'd originally intended, let's just move on, shall we?


I've told my friends and family about how talented Garrett is, but they've never had the opportunity to hear for themselves. We've been married for almost a year and were together for a year before that, but funny thing is that life doesn't typically give you an opportunity to break out into show tunes. So they were all a little curious. I think that they may have expected the "he has a really nice voice" type of musician, but boy, were they in for a surprise.

He sang seven songs, starting out with "Love Is Here to Stay" and "In the Still of the Night". One of my favorites was "Bring Him Home" from the Broadway play "Les Miserables". Take a look at Colm Wilkinson's rendition of it.

By the time Garrett finished, everyone was in tears. Such a beautiful song.

He then sang "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off", which really is a very cute song, followed by "Embraceable You". For the second half of the song, Garrett knelt down in front of me and sang it to me. And I teared up. And he teared up. Then I started crying. Then he started crying and could barely finish the song. When I was praying for a husband, I asked for a man that loved music. God answered that prayer in such a big way by bringing me a musician husband that can serenade me. God is truly "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).

Garrett also sang "It Had To Be You". Here's Harry Connick, Jr. singing it, although the version Garrett sang was less jazzy.

Garrett's final song was "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" from "Guys and Dolls".

Garrett's musical theatre experience was obvious in this song as it displayed his showmanship. I actually think he did a better job than the guy in the movie. But I'm a little biased.

I was so proud as I watched him singing. He was in his element, and as I was watching him I had the distinct impression that I was watching a man do what he was made to do. If I had my way, Garrett would have many more opportunities to share his voice and entertain others. Maybe in the future. Right now we're just doing what we have to do to build a foundation for our family.

As for the reactions of those that had never heard him sing before - they just couldn't believe it. My mother informed Garrett that he would be singing at family weddings from now on, my father wants him to sing "Bring Him Home" at a Veteran's Day event, and one of my sisters wants us to get a karaoke machine so that Garrett can sing for us whenever we feel like it. 

And my brother was going to request that he sing that song "Do It For Your Country" from Grease 2, but we weren't putting on that type of show, yo. Children were present.

One of my friends was surprised that Garrett is good enough to sing on Broadway, and yes he is. He could sing on any stage in the country, and that's not the exaggeration of a woman in love with her husband. He's just that talented.

Maybe one day he'll sing for the masses. For now, I'm honored to be an audience of one, enjoying all his funny little made up songs. I look forward to the days that he'll sit at the piano with our children, teaching them their scales and hand signs. And to evenings of family talent shows where I'll serve as the adoring public. 

But it was nice that, for a little while, others could see him as the super-talented special guy that I've known him to be all along.