Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An Open Letter to Gladys Knight

Dear Ms. Knight,

My husband and I spent a wonderful evening with you a few weeks ago when you performed in Greenville, South Carolina at the Peace Center. What a tremendous show you gave your audience! I marveled at the vibrancy, fullness of tone, and outstanding control that you still have after singing professionally for over fifty years. Forgive my surprise, but there was no trace of the wobble that plagues so many older singers, and you commanded the entire stage with élan and great energy. Your pitch, rhythm, and phrasing were, as always, flawless. I particularly appreciated the rapport you built with your audience and the graciousness that flowed out of you toward us. Young performers should take heed of this--enduring performers APPRECIATE and VALUE their audience members--you thanked us several times when we wanted to be thanking you for enriching our lives with your music, grace and love.

My favorite moments included when you sang a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald--you chose the Gershwin standard,"The Man I Love." I found that to be extremely interesting and ironic, because when I performed on the PBS-broadcast show, "We Love Ella! A Tribute to the First Lady of Song," also featuring Natalie Cole, Patti Austin, Take 6, Quincy Jones, Wynonna, Nancy Wilson and so many other masterful artists, that is the song I was given to sing as a soloist with the Thornton orchestra and big band. Great choice!

Another favorite moment was when you paused from singing so many songs associated with your recording career and sang two well-known praise songs lifting up your heart to God with the other singers on stage. Your faithfulness in sharing with your audience about the heavenly source of joy in your life was so inspiring. Finally, your unbelievable rendition of "Midnight Train to Georgia," which we had all been waiting for, of course, was worth the wait and very moving for me. That song has special meaning for me and has helped to bring me through some painful, sacrificial times in my life, so thank you for sharing it with us in such a poignant way.

Since I was a young child you have been and always will remain one of my favorite singers, and I am better at what I do because of people like you who have remained so true to their art form, true to themselves, true to the public and true to the Lord. God bless you, Ms. Knight--I look forward to our next visit together.

Sincerely Your Fan,

Tish