For my first concert of 2017 (it sure took a while – Jan. 27th!), I traveled to Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken, SC to attend the Diapers 2 Depends tour featuring Mark Lowry, Stan Whitmire and Cana’s Voice. It was my first time to see Cana’s Voice in person. Of course, I have seen Mark Lowry and Stan Whitmire quite a few times.
Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ve probably seen Stan Whitmire at least once or twice on the DVD’s of Bill Gaither Homecoming, Mark Lowry solo, Gerald Wolfe Hymn Sings or the Greater Vision group. He has pretty much been a staple of Mark Lowry’s solo tour concerts through the years. Stan played a beautiful pre-concert piano medley incuding What a Wonderful World, The Prayer, What A Friend We Have in Jesus, No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus, His Eye Is On the Sparrow, and Surely the Presence of the Lord Is In this Place. For his final solo selection, he used a track to perform Celebrate Jesus, Celebrate. He also played while Mark and Cana’s Voice sang, including finding the key and playing as Mark led some singing with the congregation a couple of times.
Cana’s Voice is fabulous! Some of you may not be familiar with this new group yet. Its members are TaRanda Greene Beane (formerly of The Greenes), Doug Anderson (formerly of Ernie Haase & Signature Sound), and Jody McBrayer (formerly of Truth and Avalon) and they perform Cana’s Voice concerts in addition to their solo ministries. I have the new Cana’s Voice CD “This Changes Everything” and have listened to it quite a bit, but I think their live performance was even better than the CD. After their first few songs, I was very kindly asked by one of the ushers/production staff folks not to video, so I won’t be able to share how wonderful their sound was with the files I captured. I will say that their blend was really beautiful. Although their style is more “contemporary” or “inspirational” than southern gospel, I was very pleased with everything they performed. On the first part of the program, they sang Heavenly Father, Love Anyway, All My Reasons Are You, Great Is Thy Faithfulness (a capella), Jesus Never Fails, and I Give It To You. On the second portion, they sang There Is a Mountain and Big Enough, which was accompanied by only Stan on the piano.
Mark was typical Mark!! He spent quite a bit of time off of the stage walking around among the audience and interacting with us a lot – so personable and down-to-earth. He only sang one song before intermission, Whatcha Need, but he sang several on the second portion on the program – Jesus Laughing, Too Big to Miss, Fly Me to the Moon, Come As You Are, and a marvelous rendition of Mary Did You Know with Cana’s Voice singing background vocals and including a wonderful video presentation. He showed a short video presentation of his mom in her later years with Alzheimer’s singing part of I Thirst. She had forgotten that she was the writer of the song – but she remembered the words! That was such a bittersweet moment. Yes, Mark is a funny, funny person, but he also has a serious side and he is able to convey his messages so well to his audience.
Total miles traveled for this concert: 400. Was it worth it? Resounding YES!