Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Performing Bucket List of Tunes ; Vocalist Smith, Symphony Team for Yule Concert

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Performing Bucket List of Tunes ; Vocalist Smith, Symphony Team for Yule Concert

Article excerpt

Michael W. Smith has fond memories of being a child in 1960s West Virginia and excitedly buying record albums that featured holiday classics by some of the biggest-name artists of the era. "We'd buy them at a tire store, like a Goodyear or Firestone tire store," he recalled in a telephone interview last week. "They'd sell a Christmas

LP for a dollar. The albums had a combination of a lot of different people, such as Doris Day, Jim Nabors, Andy Williams and Petula Clark. The list went on and on. I have incredible memories of those albums - Tony Bennett singing with a big orchestra.

"I remember back in those days thinking that if I ever got a record deal," he continued, "one of the things on my bucket list would be to make a Christmas record. Fortunately, I've gotten to do three."

Smith will bring his zeal for the season and love of rich orchestral sounds to Evansville on Friday when his "Celebrate Christmas" tour hits the Ford Center. The three-time Grammy winner, one of the most enduring talents in all of contemporary Christian music, will be backed by some 65 members of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra.

Expect to hear an array of Christmas standards and Smith-penned holiday tunes, in addition to one or two of Smith's non-holiday hits.

"It's a lot of fun," he said of the tour. "It's just me on piano with a big orchestra. In the second half of the show, we have a choir come out. It really works. It's a great night, and I love every minute of it."

Friday's performance will begin at 7:30 p.m., but Smith's day will start considerably earlier. The reason is that he plays with different symphony musicians in each market, which means an afternoon rehearsal is a mandatory part of his regular tour routine.

Smith has only a few hours to mesh with an entirely new group of musicians, nailing down each song's subtleties and nuances, before it's time to relax a bit, grab dinner and then play for a live audience.

Such an approach can indeed add an uncertain variable to the mix from time to time. …

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