To say that we were thrilled when Grace Kelly agreed to perform at the Festival of Homiletics, an interdenominational preaching conference, would be a huge understatement. We only became aware of Grace shortly before the Festival, and it took some schedule shuffling for both parties but it was worth it! We've been fortunate to have many outstanding musicians at the Festival, and Grace has joined that storied tradition with a uniqueness and energy all her own.
We asked Grace to take traditional hymns/spirituals and perform them creatively on her saxophone at the Festival. The attendees of the Festival received these interpretive variations with delighted ears and thunderous applause. The arrangement of these hymns is simple and respectful. Grace Kelly and her accompanists are not self-indulgent when they play. They use their talents in service of the songs, reminding us of the good news. Yet we've never heard anyone expand upon "Let There Be Peace on Earth" the way Grace does. Listen for the chanting and saxophone at the end. In her concerts as well as on this cd, Grace will surprise you with her vocals. It's like receiving yet another blessing when you thought all the blessings had already come.
In church, testimonials have always been important. We are inspired by the sharing of faithful perseverance through hardship and joyful living through God's blessings. We've received many "testimonials" from folks who have experienced the grace filled music of Grace Kelly. We share a few of those:
"Every so often, we are privileged to see the whisper of genius in an artists work. In the case of Grace Kelly, the whisper is blossoming into full-throated proclamation. At her debut appearance at the 2010 Festival of Homiletics in Nashville, the audience marveled as her soul poured through her instrument filling the sanctuary with scorching flourishes, soaring melodies, and sweet nuances. It is obvious that Grace and music live in inseparable embrace and listeners benefit from this love affair. Her musical prowess is only dwarfed by her charming personality and youthful joie de vivre. Enjoy this CD with closed eyes and opened heart."
The Reverend Dr. Kwasi Kena
Director of Evangelism Ministries of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church (Bachelor of Music degree in jazz piano performance from Wisconsin College Conservatory of Music)
Other pastors in attendance sent us these comments:
"What a talent! She really lifted us all up with her music! Thanks for having her!"
"Grace is amazing!! Her responsiveness to her audience was very generous."
"Wonderful! Inspiring and moving!!"
"Wow, oh Wow!! She is awesome. More, please!"
"What a super talent. Love to watch her dance to her music. She really feels it deep within her soul"
"I want Grace and Kwasi to do a cd!"
Well, here it is! Enjoy the blessing!
Lois Strukl and David Howell
Festival of Homiletics