Prime Cuts: Great is Thy Faithfulness/Think About His Love, Heaven Extravaganza Medley, As for Me and My House
It is the cause of jitters when an artist uses a superlative adjective such as "Majestic" as the album's titular. With such a lofty standard already locked in by the album's title, more often than not, the material has a challenging time trying to live up to such aerial heights. But this is not the case with Kim Collingsworth's latest live piano solo release "Majestic." Hyperbola certainly does not have a place on this set as this truly is an elegant experience of worship captured on disc. With Kim Collingsworth on her grand piano and a red carpeted line up of esteemed guests such as the Collingsworth Family, Stan Whitmire, Tim Parton among others, this is music at its majestic best. Further, being taped at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in Spartanburg, South Carolina with a hall almost packed to its 3,244-seat capacity, it's wouldn't be difficult to imagine what it would feel like when Collingsworth invited her audience to sing along on a hymn such as "Great is Thy Faithfulness." In fact, the sound of hearing thousands of voices proclaiming together in unison the faithfulness of God in song is nothing short of pulverizing.
The opening number "Heaven Extravaganza Medley" lives up to its title in two ways. First, it's an extravagant effort of stringing together seamlessly five songs that progressively loosens our grip on this world channeling our devotion towards heaven, starting with "Goodbye World, Goodbye" to the jubilant "Heaven's Jubilee," a medley that last for over nine minutes. Second, as if a full-orchestrated ensemble is not enough, Collingsworth has also lined up three grand pianos, one for herself, one for Tim Parton and one for Stan Whitmire to weave further intricate beauty to this magnum opus. Yet, not one to perform for the sake of just impressing her audience, Collingsworth gets to the cynosure of the record with "The Savior's Medley." Featuring lots of creative flowing arpeggios that not only gives familiar songs a refreshing read, they also have a way of transporting us to the Savior's presence in quiet worship.
What also adds to the utility of one's appreciation of this record is that Collingssworth would interspersed the songs with meaningful talks that do not come across as meandering rants. When she shares with us the story of how her sixteen year-old nephew Jesse Keep was diagnosed with eye cancer as an infant, we can't help but fight back our tears. To later learn that Jesse lost one eye to blindness at age two and the other at age four and still be able to play "Great is Thy Faithfulness" is a testimony deserving of multiple ovations. And when Collingsworth gets us to sing with her "We Just Want to Thank You" and "I Love You Lord" we can't help but render our hearts to the Lord in worship. Yet, not all is emotionally weighty, Collingsworth does invite five of her nieces collectively known as the Keaton Cousins to sing a delightful rendition of the American classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
More family moments abound when the Collingsworth Family get to sing together the old Morris Chapman classic "As for Me and My House." Right before the song, Collingsworth noted that this same song that was also sung at her wedding eons ago. Yamaha certainly would be proud when Collingsworth joins Tim Parton and Stan Whitmire for a trio-on-piano marathon as they let their fingers do the talking through a couple of songs beginning with a jazzy rendition of the Christmas paean "Carol of the Bells" before finishing off the spirited patriotic "Stars and Stripes Forever." Though the CD version of the concert (apparently "Majestic" comes in the configurations of both CD and DVD) clocks in at almost 80 minutes, the concert is so lively, elegant, heartfelt, and worshipful, that one can't even feel the passing of time. Do yourself a treat and indulge yourself in this stunning beautiful experience of worship.
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