Concert Review: Crist Family (Rittman, OH)
Last Sunday, I had the chance to see my first full concert by the Crist Family. (I’d only previously seen them at the National Quartet Convention). They were in Rittman, Ohio, helping the Calvary Baptist Church of Rittman celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
They sang several songs in the Sunday Morning service. They started with a three-song set before several special 50th Anniversary moments.
- I’ve Come a Long Way
- When the Sun Finally Sets
- Canaanland is Just in Sight – featuring Breana Crist and Tami Crist Starkel. I’ve heard good versions of the song recorded, including the original Heavenbound version, but this is easily the best version I’ve heard live. Seven voices add a big sound that you didn’t know the chorus needed until you hear it that way.
After the 50th Anniversary moments, they sang three more songs:
- Jesus Savior Pilot Me – featuring Tami Crist Starkel
- No Other Name – featuring Tami Crist Starkel
- Lift Up the Cross – featuring Tami Crist Starkel – This was sung at the pastor’s on-the-spot request. They had originally only been going to sing two songs in this time slot. The song received an enthusiastic response.
The pastor delivered what is easily the most memorable sermon I’ve sat through when attending a Sunday concert. Instead of using the occasion of the church’s 50th anniversary to pat the church on the back and congratulate them on the occasion, the pastor (who has been there for 30 of those 50 years) challenged the church that it had become complacent and that it needed to return to the pioneer spirit of its early days. The anointing was so strong that he even broke down crying near the end. It was powerful and well delivered.
After a fellowship dinner, the Crist family did a full program:
- When I Get Carried Away – featuring Rich Crist
- I Believe He’s Coming Back Like He Said – featuring Tami Crist Starkel
- The Anchor Holds – featuring Tami Crist Starkel
- Joy’s Gonna Come in the morning – featuring Tami Crist Starkel
- Introductions. This was probably the most anticipated moment of the evening, as most of the audience was wondering how everyone was related.
- My Heart Knows – featuring Jackie Crist.
- Living with the Light On
- He Knows the Way Home – featuring Tom Joyce
- The Rock – featuring Rich Crist and Tami Crist Starkel
- Great Beyond – featuring Tami Crist Starkel
After a very brief intermission, they began the second half with two acapella numbers. The first was “I Must Tell Jesus”:
Then, they sang:
- He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need – Also acapella, but with the microphones.
- Lift Up the Cross – They were joined by the church quartet, and got another enthusiastic response.
- Oh Happy Day – featuring Tami Crist Starkel
Probably the element of the concert that surprised me the most was the assignment of solos. As I recall, neither John Starkel nor Lisa Crist had any solos, and Breana Crist and Tom Joyce only had one solo apiece. Jackie Crist, featured on “My Heart Knows,” was surprisingly good. She shares the soprano duties with Tami Crist, and while Tami is more a Kim Hopper-style soprano, Jackie sings a straight, clear tone closer to Charlotte Ritchie. (Actually, neither comparison is good, but no better come to mind.) I would have liked to hear more from Jackie, Breana, Lisa, John, and Tom … but the fact is that with seven people on stage, the family simply has more talent than they can feature in a 90-minute program.
As if there wasn’t enough reason already to make plans to see them again!