The performance by Robert Cantrell and Friends at St. John Baptist Church here in Gainesville is still on my mind a day later. I expected a good performance, but I didn't expect to have my heart filled with joy, followed by deep gratification.
The program began with marvelous odes to Jesus such as "My Jesus, I Love Thee," and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." The fifth part of the program was the high point with "I Only Want to Say" from "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess," and "Ol' Man River" from "Showboat."
I knew Gainesville's own Cantrell would be a treat because he has been so successful on the world's concert stage. I didn't know about his friends.
I have heard the music "I Only Want to Say" at least twice before, but tenor Duane Moody's performance was by far the most moving I've ever heard. It was the first time I really felt the agonizing thoughts behind the words. I could write on and on about Mezzo-soprano Shalanda Bond-Hensboro, soprano Kelli A. Young and cellist Troy Kenneth Stuart.
My friend's words say it best: I felt like I was transported to a magical place.
I can only say a heart-felt thank you to Robert Cantrell and his Gainesville family.