Glitter And Gratitude With Tokens Thanksgiving At The Ryman

Glitter And Gratitude With Tokens
Thanksgiving At The Ryman
It was a show full of surprises,
reflections, glitter and gratitude as Tokens presented their 6th annual Thanksgiving
at the Ryman with Lee C. Camp and Friends on Sunday night.
The air was charged with joyful particles
of expectation as we were seated on the robust wooden pews at the Mother Church
of Country Music when from behind the curtain the host Lee C. Camp appeared.  With him he had some excellent
Nashville musicians and they started performing an unplugged version of
“Green, Green Grass of Home” that made one feel transported back in
time.  Then all of a sudden a wave of
cheers was heard as unannounced surprise guest Vince Gill joined them on stage
momentarily.  But that was just a little
teaser of what was to come before the actual show started.
The production based on the
Tokens radio show can be described as a dazzling spiritual music variety event
seasoned with poems, humor and a perfect pinch of satire.  Yet it feels very inviting and welcoming  –  like
sharing a dinner table with the friends you enjoy conversing with the most
while enjoying your favorite and curator selected songs.
For the grand entertainment the
Lipscomb University professor and author Lee C. Camp had invited some of the
area’s finest: Mike Farris, Buddy Greene, Secret Sisters, Andrew Peterson,
Odessa Settles and Jenny Littleton.  All provided
us with superb musical perfection and well timed sketches along with Music City
Strings, Lipscomb Academy Concert Chorus, The Most Outstanding Horeb Mountain
Boys and Vince Gill.  The latter participated
in the skits with natural compliance and skill. 
Gill also treated us with a song dedicated to his late harmony singer
and Time Jumpers band mate Dawn Sears.  The
emotion he poured into the song was carried by his blessed voice reaching us in
the audience producing tangible results:  warmth in our hearts, water filled eyes and a
warm, supportive applause.
We were presented a well produced
variety show with gospel, mellowness, thoughtfulness, laughter inducing
segments and spirit lifting songs as well as commentary to recent and ongoing
social occurrences.  Every player, picker,
singer, musician and comedienne  worked
seamlessly in the production with ease and synchronicity.
The first standing ovation of the
night was awarded to Music City Strings, a group of twenty concert violinists
ages eight through eighteen who sparkle not only with their attire, but also with
their performances: choreographed steps and movements to excellent musical
execution in a very playful but still natural and relaxed manner.  They presented innovative arrangements of
traditional violin, classical and Irish pieces including their very unique
performance of Pachelbel’s Canon much to our and my delight.
Country and American roots music
were well represented in the program with the Secret Sisters’ distinctively
traditional and groundbreaking style of folktale inspired bluegrass soul.  Odessa Settles gave us a sacred moment with her
performance, Andrew Peterson invited the Holy Spirit into the building, Buddy
Greene served bluegrass and bluegrass hymns and the inimitable Mike Farris undoubtedly
gave his all with both a rendition of Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always
Get What You Want” and George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” and the
vocal equilibrists in Lipscomb Academy Concert Chorus let their ranges shine in
one of their acts when they without amplification proved the auditorium’s superb
acoustics.   The host himself served us
the  John Denver hit “Back Home
Again” and lead the entire star cast in several numbers including the grand
finale.  Tokens’ Thanksgiving table
dished out only main courses without any side dishes.
It was not a Sunday Revival at
the Ryman, but the Tokens Thanksgiving at the Ryman came extremely close.
Foot note: One of the event’s sponsors was
Agape, an organization caring about and for parents and their born and unborn
children in all stages of life, and the show was recorded by and is going to be
broadcasted two times on WSM 650 AM on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 26 between
12 to 2 pm and 8 to 10 pm.  To listen
online go to
Shelley Ridge for Country Music
News International Magazine

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