With over eight million albums sold, twenty-seven No. 1 songs, thirteen Dove Awards, and two Grammy nominations, it’s fair to say Point of Grace are one of the most successful Contemporary Christian music groups of all time.
Their unique ability to affect audiences with songs and stories has inspired generations to look toward God as the foundation of their lives. Just in time for Christmas, this superstar all female trio brings their “A Christmas Story Tour” to the Honeywell Center in Wabash on Dec. 21.
Marking their first Christmas Album
The group’s first Christmas album, A Christmas Story, was released 20 years ago, which is why it makes sense to celebrate now. The album featured several reworkings of traditional Christmas favorites, along with a few originals.
Shelley Breen, in an interview with Whatzup, said she wasn’t really sure why the album resonated with audiences so much, but she thinks it may have just been as simple as having the right songs at the right time.
“It was released in the heyday of Point of Grace. I hate to say that, but it was definitely a time when we were selling a lot of records,” she said. “But it has to be more than that. The way it’s put together is so respectful of the true reason for the season. It has a very spiritual, deep Christmas element to it woven with a lot of the fun stuff about Christmas like ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town.’ I think that nice mixture is why it connected with so many people.”
Not that you’d expect anything different from a Christian-oriented group, but Breen wanted to make sure everyone knew this was a family-
oriented show. They have given a lot of thought to who was going to be with them on the tour and how the show would be presented.
“I think that families today struggle with finding things they can do together that everyone will actually enjoy,” she said. So, the PoG women were very involved with the behind-the-scenes machinations of the tour, from handpicking the opening acts to relearning A Christmas Story to making sure there was a nice variety that would keep everyone interested.
Openers add different flare
Opening act Mallary Hope adds a little bit of country flare to the show. Hope will be singing one of the big Faith Hill songs, “A Baby Changes Everything,” so a lot of people will identify with her and that genre.
Aaron Schust follows with a male voice that changes things up a bit and adds some different elements to the evening. He’s best known for his song “My Savior, My God,” which, Breen says “is that worship song that is basically every church’s song.” Schust also adds a heightened worship element to the show and is more of an instrumentalist than the other acts.
“And then,” Breen says, “you’ve got us. We think that’s a nice variety that will appeal to a wide audience.”
While Compassion International has been the charity of choice for the group over the years, this tour is sponsored by a different organization called ChildFund.
It works in a similar way to Compassion International in that it seeks sponsors for children who live in extreme poverty, vulnerable to many factors that threaten their well being. ChildFund partners with local organizations and governments to help create safe environments so the children can reach their full potential.
“ChildFund have really started to get involved in the Christian music genre,” Breen said, “and have really put their stake in the ground on this, so we decided to go out on their behalf this time. I’m really excited about that element of this tour. People are usually in more of a giving mood during this time of year and we hope some will find it in their heart to help these children.”
While discussing the future of the group, Breen says we probably won’t see any new music from the band in 2020, but she did say that there is a book release on the horizon.
“It’s called How You Live: Lessons from Point of Grace, which a collection of essays that we’ve written on everything from raising teenagers to hard relationships and everything in between. We’re really excited for it. It will be coming out in the fall so we’re going to be doing a lot of final touches for that next year, but we still have several shows in the spring were doing.”
The reaction to the tour so far has been overwhelmingly positive, Breen says. Many fans have thanked her for finally playing A Christmas Story because it was the “soundtrack to their lives.” That has been a special part of the tour she hadn’t anticipated.
“We’re doing the whole thing,” Breen said. “We even went and learned all the little interludes. We are singing songs off that record that we’ve never performed live before and the fans have loved it. It was a lot of work on the front end for us but it’s been worth it.
“If there’s one thing you can take your whole family to this season, this might be it. I mean Grandpa might not want to go see Frozen 2, but we’re sure everybody will like this show.”
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