I'm exhausted today after a very late night of awesome gospel singing! Last night, the Gaither Homecoming crowd was performing just outside Toronto. After finishing a full day of work, I jumped in the car and made the two hour drive out to London, ON. The venue was half the size of the ACC, so it was a much more intimate concert than I've seen before.
The opening was great. All the singers walked through the audience singing "Lean On Me" - a great and soulful way to open the show. If you've seen a live Gaither show before, then you know how the rest of the show unfolds - solos in the first half, group singing after intermission. ("Intermission" is really just another word for "CD-buying-time". My poor Visa nearly exploded!) Everyone was in great form. The Booth Brothers sang "I'm Feeling Fine", which has extra significance since our wedding. Ben Speer opened his heart and tore up the stage with "Til the Storm Passes By". Signature Sound just ripped everything apart with their snazzy stylings! I love their arrangement of "Then Came the Morning". It never fails to inspire me and remind we that we are an Easter people! The Isaacs are always awesome. I'm always impressed with their mix of technical skill, great songwriting (especially "Yours and Mine", which they performed last night), and truly anointed praise. They did their fantastic version of "It is Well". It's no secret this is one of my favourite songs of all time, and their arrangement is just so powerful. God just fell upon that place. The air was potent with His presence!
But the musical highlight for me was the newest member of the Gaither gang - pianist Gordon Mote. I am completely in love with this man's music. It is my new official Latest Favourite CD. Gordon is a Nashville session player who is using his talents in ministry. As a session player, I'm sure he's played everything, but his playing last night could only be categorized by one word: Soul. And lots of it! You could hear it in the classic quartet songs, as well as the newer jazzy stuff that GVB is doing. He sang two songs, and they both brought the house down. I had the chance to meet him after the show, and he's so funny! I cannot say it enough: I love this man's music! I hope I get the opportunity to work with him someday. (Yes,subtle hinting!)
The group singing was, as usual, a great way to end the show. Lots of classic SG sung with great gusto. We even got the rare opportunity to hear Mike Allen do a solo. I think people get so used to hearing him drop in those low notes that they forget he's a beautiful singer who can really do justice to a song. The show ended with "Because He Lives" with Charlotte Ritchie on the solo verse. What a voice! I bought some of her tracks. (Thank you, Visa!) We have the same vocal range, so I think they should work well.
I was hesitant about going to the concert last night. I worked all day yesterday and today, so driving two hours there and two hours back, all by myself, was not a wonderful prospect. But I'm so glad I went. It reminded me what I'm aiming for: A career writing and singing gospel music, specifically southern gospel music. To live in Nashville where I will be surrounded by some of the best writers and singers in the world. To travel and bring the music and message to different areas.
But mostly, I just want to use my talents to serve God. Last night, in the concert, I prayed that God would bless my efforts to serve Him. And I reminded myself of the prayer that I started last summer:
"Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord! What ever you ask, I say, Yes, Lord!"