Thursday, December 07, 2000

Concert review: “Child of the Promise Tour 2000”

Christian tour lives up to its 'Promise'

By Cecelia D. Johnson
Enquirer contributor

        “Oh! Come All Ye Faithful” and they come did as a bevy of contemporary Christian recording artists brought their “Child of the Promise Tour 2000” to the Firstar Center Tuesday night.

        Families and church groups filled the arena with their spirit for an evening of worship, seasonal carols and musical theater.

        “Child of the Promise” is the successor to the Young Messiah effort of the mid-1990s with its similar emphasis on the growing popularity of contemporary Christian music. This production covers a broad range of territory, embracing the familiarity of yuletide carols and the timeless story of the Nativity with the flash of a Broadway road show.

        The first half of the evening treaded the familiar territory of sacred and secular song performed by a revue of top talent. Headlined by vocalists Steven Curtis Chapman and Twila Paris (backed by a 20-piece orchestra — Praise the Lord! No pre-recorded tracks!) and a fine supporting cast that included male and mixed quartets, an up-and-coming young teen group, and strong feature singers, the opening offered something for just about everyone.

        The 20-minute intermission was also an opportunity to set the stage for the second half that featured the theatrical concert performance of Children of the Promise based on the first and second chapters of Matthew and Luke.

        The ensemble assumed the role of biblical characters (notably Ms. Paris whose pregnancy worked well for her character, Elizabeth). 4HIM was a favorite as the Shepherds, while Russ Taff was impressive delivering the word of God as the angel Gabriel, backed by the white-robed Tristate Urban Crest Baptist Church choir.

        Crystal Lewis and Mr. Chapman assumed the roles of Mary and Joseph, while Wayne Watson, Aaron Benward and Clay Crosse portrayed the Three Wise Men.

        An overall entertaining musical, it was disappointing that in these times of inclusion and diversity that a capable singer of color couldn't be found to portray the Wise Man of color.


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