Friday, September 13, 2013

Up Close and Personal concerts with Lex and George

I've been singing with Lex de Azevedo for 15 years now. For a long time Wednesday nights were synonymous with rehearsals/recording sessions at Azevedo Studios (formerly Studio One). I can't even find words to describe the impact these Wednesday nights have had on my life. From the friends made, the experiences shared, the love of music expressed....truly it has helped shape me into who I am today.
During our first rehearsal we were surprised and touched when Lex became emotional as he told us how much he loved us, how much we meant to him, how the experiences he has shared with us have been the highlight of his career.

Though projects have become few and far between the last couple of years, a few of us were called back together to sing in a big concert Lex was putting on as part of his "Up Close and Personal" summer concert series at his studio. He kept joking around at rehearsals that doing this concert was like watching his life flash before his eyes seeing as he was doing songs from early in his career up through the present. We're talking Saturday's Warrior, My Turn on Earth, Swan Princess, the Living Scriptures among others along with the more recent Gloria, Hosanna, Signing Times, Hymn to America, etc. So not only were we singing songs that we recorded and performed previously as the Millennium Choir...but also we provided back-up for Saturday's Warrior which was a lot of fun.

The concert ended up becoming a reunion of sorts. Not only did Jenny Oaks Baker fly in from Washington D.C. to play the violin for Hosanna (which also meant that her father, Elder Dallin H. Oaks was in the audience) and Christeena Riggs from NYC to sing in Gloria....but also almost the entire original 1974 cast of Saturday's Warrior. Because of the stories and memories flying fast and furious from all the performers, the concert went long, overlapping it's scheduled time by a full hour...but I don't think anyone minded. It was a tremendous evening and I am so glad I had the chance to be a part of it!
 Saturday's Warrior cast

Cam Clarke singing "Sailin' Home"

Shawn King (Larry King's wife) and Paul Engemann singing "Angel Lullaby" from My Turn on Earth

Jenny Oaks Baker and Christeena Riggs

A review from an audience member....
I have been a part of, and witnessed many of Lex deAzevedo's thrilling musical moments that brought tears and magic to the audience but never have I seen or heard anything as beautiful and thrilling as Lex's "Up Close and Personal" concert last Saturday. It was a beautifully woven tapestry of his God given musical talent through the years. I sat through the concert thinking how privileged I was to have know one of the great masters of the music world. My dear friend, Reid Nibley, another great musician and I were talking about Lex one day and Reid said "I don't think the LDS culture fully appreciates the magnificent talent of Lex deAzevedo but I believe future generations will". I believe they will because Lex's music is eternal. Thank you, Lex for being a part of my life and my very dear friend.

And if that wasn't enough....the very next week, also as part of the "Up Close and Personal" summer concerts, a few of us got to sing a few numbers with George Dyer, he also a part of our Millennium/Azevedo music family. George sang the part of Angel Gabriel in Gloria and the Words of Christ in Hosanna. His singing was equally breathtaking in both. He has since moved to Branson, Missouri where he has his own show and performs near daily. He brought that show here to Utah for this concert but decided for old times sake to add a couple of songs from Gloria...which is where we come in. His concert....or show as he told me he prefers to call it....was a lot of fun. Beyond having an absolutely incredible voice, George is a master performer and really involves his audience. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time! But I don't think I am biased when I say that a highlight was his songs from Gloria. It sure was wonderful to sing with George again! 
 The one picture where you can see me....and I have a weird look on my face. Doesn't it figure?

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