Carolyn Arends in concert
Church of the Resurrection, 7:30pm
Leawood, KS
Friday, April 16, 1999

Pictures and review by Danl Blackwood

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The concert was sponsored by Church of the Resurrection, which is a very large United Methodist Church (2nd largest in the US by attendance) in Leawood, a suburb of Kansas City. I had as much fun visiting with the folks I met there, as I did Carolyn's concert. What a marvelous church with God's love shining brightly. Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor at COR, opened the concert with announcements and introductions. The sanctuary seats approximately 1,700, and was just about full, as they sold over 1,500 tickets. Most of these went very quickly to COR members since (as mentioned) this is a very large congregation - They see about 4,300 attendees in six services weekly! Carolyn Arends came out without her guitar and opened with "Reaching" from her first album, accompanied by Spencer Capier on violin and Spencer Welch on piano. (For more pictures and a complete set list, click here.)
Spencer Capier and his wife Kikine live in Vancouver, British Columbia (as does everyone in this trio). He has been touring and recording with Carolyn for over seven years, and is quite a talented and versatile musician. With violin as his primary instrument, Spencer also covers guitar and mandolin very nicely - as well as vocals. Starting with last summer's festival tour, Carolyn's trio is a "band of Spencers." Spencer Welch, the newest member of the band, covers the vocals and keys, including synthesizer, piano, and accordion (which Carolyn later loving introduced as the "agony bag"). After the opening number, Carolyn picked up her guitar and also picked up the tempo - rocking with "Do What You Do" and a couple more.
On my way to the church that afternoon, it was literally snowing sideways! (Kansas in April?!) Carolyn hoped we weren't blaming them for bringing the weather with them from Canada. :-) Next Carolyn did three songs by herself winding up with "Even the Wallflowers," which was one of the many songs on her latest recording inpsired by David Benjamin Arends, her and husband Mark's beautiful baby boy (just turned one last Feb). She shared that when she was in Junior High she was hopelessly shy and very much a wallflower. She wrote this song for Ben confident "he'd make it through the 7th and 8th grade," because "...even the wallflowers do survive - they can thrive even in the shadows..." There was an intermission that ended up being a lot longer than intended. There were so many people there that it took a while for everyone to get in and out - and quite a few new fans snapped up Carolyn's CD's, tapes, and pictures. Everyone hung out in the foyer that until just last December was the sanctuary.
One of the first songs after the break was one of my personal favs, "Life Is Long" from the new CD, This Much I Understand This song speaks to those who are struggling with bad circumstances and chronic "Murphy's Law." True to the theme of the song, Carolyn messed up one of the lines - that got a big grin out of Spencer and Spencer. Another of my favorites is Carolyn's rendition of the Rich Mullins song, "Jacob and 2 Women." Carolyn shared a little about having toured with Rich, his influence in her spiritual and musical life, and her grief after the tragic accident. After giving birth to Ben, it gave her a new perspective on entering this life, and leaving it (Rich going home to the LORD). She said that it was a real blessing to be able to participate in Reunion's Awesome God Rich Tribute CD. The music and ministry was very well received, and more than one person I visited with said they thought it was the best concert they'd had in a while. I commented to Carolyn, Spencer, and Spencer later how much I enjoyed the ensemble sound, and how well they played together.
The concert lasted over two hours and then Carolyn sat and signed autographs at the product table for a pretty long line of fans. Not done yet! She then headed for the "Youth Underground" for a back stage party. Carolyn cheerfully autographed and chatted for another long line. Hanging out with Spencer while Carolyn visited, was one of my new friends (seated in blue shirt) Teri Chinery, Assistant to Director of Music Ministries at Church of the Resurrection.
"Finally mom is done!" Ben travels with mom for the most part, and when hubby Mark is not touring with them in the summer (Mark is a high school counselor), Ben is cared for by nursery folks. He had no lack of attention back stage during the concert. :-) What a cutie! Carolyn finally finished up at 10:30pm and took a quick flight back home to Canada for her brother's wedding the next day. But after only twelve hours at home, it was another quick flight down to Nashville to the Gospel Music Association's GospelMusic 99.

All photos Copyright © 1999

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