Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Flowers and Friends

During my high school and college years, jazz music was a significant part of my life. I played keyboard in a jazz band, piano for jazz choirs, and sang too.

But that was long ago! It's been years since I've had the opportunity to be at a live jazz concert.

That changed last night, thanks to my friend, Shelby at her concert: Flowers and Friends

Shelby, who lives here in Czech, serves on Josiah Venture staff in our international Fusion ministry. A graduate of Vanderbilt, she uses her gifts and talents for sharing the Gospel and building God's Kingdom in a variety of ways.

And along the way, she blesses a whole lot of people with those gifts!

Shelby is truly one of the most gifted pianists I've ever known - so effortless, excellent and enjoyable in what she does (that's her, to the left of the singer, on the keyboard).

I don't know when she got the idea, but I know that for the past few months she's been working with a group of talented musicians to prepare for this night - a night to bring a lot of joy and good music to all those who packed into the club where it was held.

And what a night it was!

She had prepared, with her musicians, a two hour show that was so incredibly delightful! I seriously couldn't stop smiling the whole evening. I know full well what it took to do that; while I never had that kind of talent, I know from past experience the amount of time, thought and energy she put into it.

She wrote about half (hope I'm getting that amount right!) of the music, with one piece being as recently as this January! She arranged the songs as well, working with the singers, guitar players and drummer to get just the right tempos and sounds - which seriously produced one of the best and most enjoyable live jazz concerts I've ever been to!

When it was over, I wished that they'd just start over again and play for another two hours; yes, it was that enjoyable!

She laughingly called Terry English her manager (he's also one of our JV missionaries, who heads up Fusion International) as he'd been one of the ones responsible for making the arrangements for the concert. He came up at the end with a bouquet of flowers to thank her.

Very appropriate since her last name is "Flowers"!

From oldies but goodies, to a recent jazz number by Chick Corea, and an adaptation of a Mozart (or was it Chopin??!!) sonata turned into a jazz piece, every song was just pure fun. And all done with such poise, professionalism, joy, and winsomeness by our dear Shelby.

I'm not sure how many were in the club, perhaps 200 people or so; but when the concert was over, the clapping started and of course we wanted an encore! Shelby obliged by playing one last great jazz piece: "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

You've never heard it played like that before! I wish so much that I had a recording of it. Maybe another time I'll get her to play it for me so I can record it. It was AMAZING!

I did record one song, "Hey There" that she said was her mom's favorite! Click on the Vimeo link below.

"Shelby, you delight all of us with your God-given talent! It blesses me like crazy to see you using your gift so unselfishly, letting others enjoy what God's given you. Thank you for one of the best jazz concerts I've ever been to...and I'm not kidding! I can say that because I've been to a lot! But this one was pure fun and was made all the sweeter because it was your vision, your leadership, your tone and your playing, and of course your amazing band, that made it such a great night. I sincerely hope you'll do another concert someday! I'm totally a fan!!"

Flowers and Friends: Hey There from Connie Patty on Vimeo.

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