A Tribute to God & Country

curtain call

“The ultimate goal of music is none other
but for the Glory of God and the refreshment of the spirit.”
J.S. Bach

curtain call
Curtain Call

The beautiful sanctuary of Christ Church of Conroe was transformed into a dazzling concert venue on July 2, 2018, featuring Jordan Ong, Gold Medalist of the Russian Musical Alliance International Piano Competition 2018, a Concert Pianist, Film Maker, Founder/Mentor of Piano Whiz Kids, and Special Guest Virtuoso, Dr. Sergei Kuznetsov, winner of multiple international competitions including China International Piano Competition, 2004; a Concert Pianist, Piano Professor, and mentor of many award winning Houston Young Artists.

More than 150 church members, musicians and music lovers gathered for “A Tribute to God and Country” concert that began with Pastor Dan Schiel welcoming the community followed by an opening prayer. The American Legion Post 618 from Willis Honor Guard presented the Colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Star Spangled Banner led by Cori Robinson Owens of Conroe.

For the next 90 minutes, the audience was captivated by talented pianists, incorporating the most beloved compositions by American composers and rousing patriotic repertoire.

Jordan Ong rallied the American spirit with the toe-tapping “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, no doubt the most renowned American composer. Gershwin’s most popular composition included the familiar theme used by the United Airlines in their advertisements and melodies that framed the opening of the Roaring Twenties film, “The Great Gatsby.” It brilliantly combined elements of classical music with jazz, bossa nova, blues, ragtime, the Cuban “clave” rhythm, and the Charleston dance.

The great virtuoso, Dr. Sergei Kuznetsov, melted the audiences’ hearts with his breathtaking transcription and tender rendition of the Christian hymn, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,”  which has been sung by notable gospel singers including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Randy Travis and Faith Hill, and was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Next, Jordan, who has been scheduled to perform at the world ranked Academy of Music Kimmel Center in Philadelphia at the Triumph Music Festival on September 29, 2018, gave the audience a glimpse of the event by playing from one of his repertoire, “Polichinelle” from Morceaux de Fantaisie Op. 3 by Rachmaninoff.” The ambitious key and the aggressive tempo of Allegro Vivace cement the virtuosity of this young artist.

A parade of adorably talented Piano Whiz Kids and young artists gave a Red, White and Blue Medley starting with the Wimberly brothers, Steven and James, performing the “Star Spangled Banner.” This is followed by a “Name That Tune” game with several future Stars: Simon, Crystal, Keaton, and Priam hammering out tunes to test the audience. Rounding up the medley were Urmi, who played “Burgmuller’s Ballade;” Jadon, who delighted with his “Sparklers,” Zane, who entertained with Scott’s Joplin’s “The Entertainer” and Mozart’s “Turkish March,” and Caleb Hu’s extraordinary presentation of Horowitz’  rendition of “Stars & Stripes Forever.”

After Caleb’s performance, constitutional scholar Dr. Joe Vicars proclaimed “That is a hard act to follow!” before bringing his message that took the audience through a fascinating “Historical Journey Back to the Birth of Our Nation.”

The program concluded with one of the most popular concerti of all time, “Edward Grieg’s Concerto in a minor,” composed when he was only 24 years old. An expression of nationalism starting with a drum roll followed by brilliantly descending passages, set the stage for a succession of lyrical and reflective, as well as dramatic themes. Jordan Ong and Sergei Kuznetsov joined the likes of musicians such as Franz Liszt and Arthur Rubenstein in giving the audience a spectacular treat with this concerto.

A standing ovation and curtain calls brought all the performers back to the stage before everyone was invited to a reception and treated to artistically creative and scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and desserts provided by Lynn and Jan Winn of Spring.

Duayne Hatfield, a country and western guitarist who performs at Loose Caboose in Old Town Spring entertained during the reception with “outstanding, old-fashioned Texas-style country music.”

All in all, the evening was spectacular, and everyone felt blessed by the concert, saying their patriotic spirits were rejuvenated, and they were extremely proud to be an American!

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