“Christmas With Friends” Howard Theatre Tour Stop Made Us All Whole Again”

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Christmas Trees, Lights, Candles, and even Flowers filled the stage as everyone looked on in delight! Though the weather was 70 degrees outside, there was no questioning the jolly atmosphere inside the Howard Theatre. In an all seated packed venue, the anticipation was surprisingly calm. I believe, it was based upon a content feeling in everyone’s mind that, what they were about to experience, would be nothing short of amazing! Christmas had arrived early for us all and we were admiring the set design filled with Christmas decorations. Everyone was excited to get exactly what they asked for, an awesome show! 🙂

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Then, just like that, in the blink of an eye, Jonathan McReynolds appeared. It is something magical in talent alone but when you factor that in with creativity, persistence, incredible songwriting ability, obedience to use your God given vocal ability to sing out inspirational messages, and tons of humility, that magic can change lives. That kind of anointing can encourage and touch anyone, no matter what trialed or triumphant walk of life they are living through. Jonathan McReynolds foundation is solid and on both of his album’s LIFE MUSIC AND LIFE MUSIC: STAGE TWO his life lessons are expressed through song as an inspiring way of feeling free to always reach out to God. He tells us in song, that he is a “Christ Representer”, and he is ok with the imperfections of being flawed which his songs “Loving Me” and “Pressure”, speak of. McReynolds writing skill lyrically grabs at your core as he finds the most classic and smooth, yet thought provoking melodic phrasings to perfectly bring out the feeling of the God sent messages. He really is what he sings about! 🙂

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He blessed us all with some songs off of his New 2nd Album: LIFE MUSIC: STAGE TWO He performed “Gotta Have You” and “Limp” as well as others. He was charming, engaging and overall amazing. He showed us why he has 7 Stellar Award Nominations and A Grammy Nomination for Best Gospel Album. Major Congratulations to Jonathan McReynolds as he has already accomplished so many wonderful things! We are sure there is much more in store and will always be a supporter of his ministry through music.

After you experience such an exceptional artist, you can’t help but want even more. So, the level of anticipation was growing for India Arie to hit the stage. When she did, she came in style. She wore a beautiful all white wrap dress with accents of sparkling gold on the sleeves. She also wore her signature head wrap that I like to call her crown. Just as the audience were calmly excited, so was she.

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Once she sang her first note, there was no one that was not zoomed in and totally focused on her. This soul bird let us know she is light coming through the form of her impressive vocal delivery. The way she sang through the many beautiful Christmas song arrangements that the late great Joe Sample and her awesome tour pianist Aaron W. Lindsey created were amazing. Now, the Christmas album: Christmas With Friends alone is breathtaking all on its own. All of the 30 plus contributors of the creative process for this album, put their all into it. It has a glow of its own. One of the most touching Christmas albums to date. So, to be able to hear it beautifully performed live, was really special.

Throughout the show, she performed songs such as: “Let It Snow” and “The Christmas Song”. Ms. Arie even threw in surprises of some of her top hits such as: “ Video” and “Ready For Love”. There was a moment within the show where she brought her mother out, sang to Jonathan McReynolds, Did a few duets one with her backing vocalist Gene Moore Jr. (who is a Motown Records Gospel Artist), amazed us with her flute playing, and handed the microphone to several audience members to allow them to share their vocals. India Arie is just an awesome performer and is definitely one to see live.

From her 21 Grammy nominations and 4 Grammys, it is clear that her work ethic remains on high, at all times. Of all the awesome things Ms. Arie is doing, she has managed to add another extraordinary element to her list of greatness. “Songversation: I Am Light” which is a 5 part essay book she has written. So, Concert Daily congratulates her and her endless artistry. Also, we have to compliment the tour band as well: Charles Lamont on Drums, Blue Miller on Guitar, Aaron W. Lindsey on the Piano, Darrell Freeman on Bass and Gene Moore Jr. on Backing Vocals. You all were incredible. Congratulations to you as well.

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Story By: @MarquitaCheron

About The Author: Marquita Cheron is a Jazzy-Soul/R&B Singer/Songwriter, Correspondent, Writer and overall Music Enthusiast; who has a love for every positive angle of the Music & Entertainment industry. Simply on a quest to reveal the greatness of amazing artists and their music to the masses, while also being a contributor of it herself.

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