Amid the twinkling Christmas lights and neon of Lower Broad and the stateliness of the old Customs House and Union Station, the GEC was lit up like, well, several Christmas trees when Michael W. Smith, Point of Grace and the Katinas brought their Christmastime tour home for the holidays last night. Playing to a packed auditorium, the evening started with Michael on piano playing to his hometown friends. Smith commented that one of the bright spots was seeing familiar faces in the crowd but that the off side was it is hard to impress Nashville because locals look at the stage and think, “That’s my next door neighbor.”
Almost every song was a high point with the stellar keyboards of Smitty and the virtually flawless harmonies of Point of Grace and the Katinas. My personal favorites include POG’s “When Love Came Down (at Christmas).” The girls talked about life on the road on this tour with six children spread out among the girls and how bittersweet it was to conclude the tour at home among friends.
Smitty read the Christmas story from Luke 2:8, reminding us why we celebrate the season before he launched into “Welcome to Our World.” “Emmanuel” segued neatly into “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” “Gloria” became “Gloria In Excelsis Deo.” The evening continued in this vein – the songs flowed almost seamlessly from newer tunes to favorite Christmas classics.
Smith reminded people to keep our troops in our hearts during the holidays. Recently back from a visit with the President in Maryland, Smith said he got to visit with a lot of our soldiers who were just back from Iraq. “What amazed me was even if they had just had a leg or an arm blown off, they all said they would still go back.”
Other high points were anything Skip Clevinger did with flute or bagpipe. One of my favorite medleys was an instrumental one which included “Good King Wenceslas” featuring flute, piano and violin.
The stage was magical. Christmas trees, 2 laser screens in the shapes of Christmas trees, and a gigantic wreath dominated the stage but didn’t diminish the performers and only enhanced the music. Twice during the night “snowflakes” fell from above. The night ended on a high note with the audience singing along on some favorite carols… in a word, magical.
Christmastime contest winners Corey Boerm and his wife pose with Christian Activities publisher Kathryn E. Darden.
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Photos coming soon!