I have been getting my notes together to write up several posts as promised in my last article. However, before I write those posts I need to write a small vignette that I experienced a week ago. My husband and I are Christian music fans and we had tickets to attend a concert in Jacksonville.
There were three acts. The opener was Trevor Morgan, a new voice on the Christian music scene and very talented. He was followed by the band 10th Avenue North which has been playing the Christian scene for several years now and have become very popular. To round out the evening in top billing place was a great band called Third Day who we had previously seen at Disney’s Night of Joy. This band has been playing together for about twenty years and I really like them. Their lead singer has a most unusual voice.
As we settled into our seats, I was sitting to the right of Richard, we were joined on Richard’s left by a young mother and her son. I guess the boy was about ten years old and it became fairly obvious that he was very excited to be at the concert. After a short conversation, we discovered that he was a die-hard Third Day fan and he could barely wait for them to come on stage.
The concert began and we all thoroughly enjoyed Trevor Morgan. I think we will be hearing a lot more of him in the future. Tenth Avenue North gave us a great performance and took us up to the interval. Richard went off to grab us some water, and the mother and son also left the auditorium. When they came back the boy was happily munching on a giant pretzel. His mother said he needed “replenishing before Third Day appears”.
After a few moments, she opened a bag and pulled out a couple of CD’s. With a certain air of wishful expectation, the boy asked her what she had bought and I heard her tell him that she had really liked Trevor Morgan and wanted to support him so had decided to buy his CD. She then went on to say she had really enjoyed Tenth Avenue North and didn’t have any of their music at home and wanted to get their CD too. I saw the boy’s expression drop somewhat at that piece of news, but then his Mom said, “but then I changed my mind and got the Third Day CD.”
It had been a while since I saw someone’s face light up in such a way. The boy gasped, his eyes opened wide, and this great big grin spread all over his face. He put his pretzel down and held both hands out for the CD. Smiling happily the mom handed it over and ecstatically the boy took hold of it and drew it in towards his chest. He sat there for a few moments without saying a word. He clasped the CD to his heart, his eyes were closed and a beatific smile spread from ear to ear. He was totally “in love” in that moment.
After a while, he opened his eyes and slowly began to examine the CD. It was as though he was holding a precious jewel. He lovingly stroked the front cover and I fully expected him to start drooling any minute. He carefully turned the CD over and I assume he was reading the song titles. At this point the mom said that she would put it back in the bag until they got home and she put her hand out to take it. But the boy clutched it, kissed it, and put it back to his heart, closing his eyes once again in sheer sublime happiness.
I was so in awe of this whole little scene that played out right there beside us, and just very impressed that this young man was so passionate about a Christian band. I was also grateful that he had a very loving and supportive mother. She gently explained that if he wanted to finish his pretzel he would need to let go of the CD and that it would be safer back in the bag. I also heard her say that he could play it as soon as they got into the car for the ride home. He reluctantly let go after a couple more kisses!!
Well he then had his heart’s desire fulfilled when Third Day took the stage and played practically non-stop for almost two hours. It was truly a remarkable performance and the boy stood in his seat for the entire time, eyes sparkling and singing along with the songs that he recognized. What a great evening we all had and I know I will remember that boy’s face forever.
Well we did it again. This is now the sixth consecutive year that I have attended Night of Joy at Disney, Orlando. Richard has accompanied me for the last five. We stayed for two nights because Richard decided that the line-up of artists was just too good on both nights. Who was I to argue?
I have to say that in all the years that I have been this event does not lose its magic and excitement. I have never been disappointed, even when they took it out of Magic Kingdom for a couple of years and tried it over at MGM Studios. The artists are always fantastic and the various venues and set ups are just great.
Some of the artists and bands that played for us this year were David Crowder Band, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Sidewalk Prophets, Britt Nicole, Third Day, and Mercy Me. Now where else can you be entertained by such a galaxy of stars in the space of two nights all in one place. There were a few more but I didn’t hear them. That’s probably the only problem – having to choose who to listen to because there are at least two artists/bands playing at the same time in different venues.
For me the best venue is the stage they set up with Cinderella’s castle as the back drop. At night, with all the changing lights playing on the castle, it is truly a magical atmosphere. This lends itself really well to the high energy music and the level of audience participation. Even after six years it never ceases to amaze me that thousands of people travel from all over (and I mean all over the world!) to take part in this Christian event.
The energy that can be felt is very uplifting and I am always struck by the number of young people who are there openly worshipping God. Hands and hearts are raised during every song. And then, of course, during some of the more rock-style numbers there’s lots of jumping up and down “for God”.
I have to say that I think my favorite artist this year was Chris Tomlin whose routine is seamless and very high energy. He doesn’t falter from song to song and his genuine love of God and desire to worship Him is very clear. Mercy Me runs a close second and I really like Casting Crowns and Third Day.
Once again I came away from the experience feeling very uplifted. Music is a precious gift from God and I love the way these musicians give back to God what He has bestowed upon them. Here’s looking forward to next year and another soul fulfilling night of joy!