Concert Review: Collingsworth Family
Last Saturday, I had the chance to see the Collingsworth Family in Bucyrus, Ohio. The attendance was remarkably strong for a Southern Gospel concert in this area. The host church included it as part of an annual celebration weekend; while that helped attendance, it was still heartening to see perhaps 600 or more turn out for a Southern Gospel concert. Shortly before the concert, ushers started putting out extra chairs in front of the first row, behind the back row, and (raising a retractable wall) even out into the lobby. Even so, people were standing behind the last rows throughout the concert.
Song list with comments:
- Not the Same. This song, from their most recent project (We Still Believe), was performed by the whole family. It features Brooklyn Collingsworth, the oldest daughter and the group’s soprano.
- When God Whispers. This song was performed by a ladies’ trio consisting of Kim Collingsworth (mother/alto), Courtney (second oldest/second soprano or mezzo), and Brooklyn.
- God Can Do Anything. The whole family came back for this song, featuring Kim (vocal solo).
- It is Well With My Soul. This was Kim’s first piano solo of the night, and got a standing ovation.
- The Blood of Jesus. This was performed by a mixed trio–Phil Collingsworth (father/baritone), Kim, and Brooklyn.
- I Can Trust Jesus. This was performed by a mixed trio with a different lineup, Courtney joining Phil and Brooklyn (while Kim played piano).
- Joshua Fit the Battle. This was Kim’s second piano solo (and second standing ovation) of the night. Interestingly enough, Phil Collingsworth introduced it by saying that it was their most requested song over the course of their ministry. I found this slightly surprising, since I would have expected “How Great Thou Art” to be her most-requested song.
- Lily of the Valley. This was a fiddle duet featuring Courtney and Brooklyn. More than any other song except Kim’s piano solos, this got the most enthusiastic response of the evening. It was encored once, and a second wouldn’t have hurt.
- No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus. Brooklyn and Courtney played this as a violin duet.
- We Still Believe. This Ronnie Hinson song, the title song from their most recent project, featured the whole family. It was well received enough to be encored twice.
- My Favorite Things. This song featured Olivia, the youngest Collingsworth, on a solo. The first verse stayed true to the original, from The Sound of Music; the second and third verses were parodies of the original, listing things old people enjoy. (Judging by the looks on the faces of various older audience members, the message of the song was hitting home.)
- And Can it Be / Majesty / In the Garden. In preparation for her upcoming live piano video taping, in which she will be taking requests, Kim took several requests. The first several audience requests were for “How Great Thou Art.” Phil noted the requests, and (as I guessed) saved that one to close the request time. Audience members also requested “And Can it Be,” “Majesty,” “Salute to the Troops,” and several others, and Kim worked several of the requests into an impromptu medley. She closed the medley with an audience sing-along on “In the Garden.”
- How Great Thou Art. Kim closed the concert with this number and received a (prolonged) standing ovation.
The Collingsworth Family appears on selected dates on the Gaither Homecoming tour. It seems most groups on the tour find ways to work in at least one Gaither joke during the course of their programs. Phil’s Gaither joke was one of the most original I’ve heard, tying it into the introduction of “My Favorite Things,” mentioning how the second and third verses listed some of Gaither’s favorite things.
With six family members, most of whom play instruments, the evening was full of variety. With one or two exceptions (in the instrumentals), there were no two consecutive songs done by the same lineup. This makes comparing a Collingsworth Family concert to a regular Southern Gospel concert something like comparing oranges to apples. To extend the metaphor (well, technically a simile, but who’s keeping score?), don’t go to one of their concerts expecting an apple–but you might just find the orange tastier than you expected.