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James R. Stout

A Night To Remember: The Annie Moses Band

             In mid-October of this year my brother-in-law Charlie called me and asked if I would be interested in going with him to see a group in concert in December. I must confess that I had never heard of the group before. They are “The Annie Moses Band”. As a singer-songwriter myself, Charlie knew that I would enjoy seeing the band in concert. I said “sure” and he even sprung for the tickets. All I did was buy his dinner! I briefly looked up the band online back in October, but I didn’t get a chance to delve into who they really are. The concert was held last night at a refurbished movie theater in Lufkin, Texas called “The Pines”. Kudos to whoever refurbished the theater because it is a wonderful venue for intimate concerts such as we attended. I’m just guessing, but it probably seats about 400 people. There’s not a bad seat in the house.

            So, with no expectations or prior knowledge of the band, we drove the 60 miles to Lufkin, had dinner, and then got to the theater about 30 minutes before showtime. I had to make a pass by the front of the stage to check out the guitars. I couldn’t see the brand on the jazz guitar, a hollow body classic, but I did see the Fender Telecaster and what appeared to be a Fender Jazzmaster or Jaguar, but again I couldn’t really tell from where I was. As a proud owner of a Fender American Stratocaster, Gibson Less Paul, and a 1967 Danelectro Baritone guitar, I was impressed with the guitars that I saw up on the stage. There were also other instruments. A cello, two violins, a viola, a classical guitar, a mandolin, a Fender Bass (couldn’t make out the exact model), a grand piano (not electric, but the real thing – and given my father was a craftsman who restored pianos in a 60 year long career – it was great to see a real piano up there), a Pearl drum set, and a Cajon. I could tell from the instruments on stage that if the band knew their stuff, then the concert was going to be a great experience. That’s putting it mildly. It was stellar. Did I say stellar? How about spectacular, stupendous, fantastic, a doggone treat to these two old ears!

            I won’t go into a great deal of explanation here of all of the band members, their stories, and history. I strongly suggest that you visit their website,, for all the info you’ll need. I also strongly suggest you visit their other website,, which is a non-profit organization that they have founded. Their mission is stated right up-front. It is simply “Reclaiming the Arts for The Glory of God”. The band is as good as they get. Yet they have dedicated themselves to bringing the story of Jesus in a unique way. There was no preaching. Instead, they brought the best music you’ll hear live in a very long time with an emphasis on not only their craft, but also on God, His Son, and they do it with humility despite their virtuosity performances. As a Christian myself, I received an immense blessing by witnessing these young people perform.

            In last night’s concert, the band was 8 pieces. Annie, the leader and co-founder of the band and namesake of her great-grandmother, plays the violin and is the lead singer. She, along with three of her siblings, are classically trained and alumni of the Julliard School of Music. If you don’t know of that school, then look it up. You will be impressed. Two of the six family members were not in concert last night. Camille, a pianist and harpist, is home about to give birth! Alex was also home tending to his wife and their new baby. In their place last night, a gifted pianist (I apologize for not having his name) and an 18-year-old virtuoso on viola augmented the group along with a guest percussionist/drummer. The group was rounded out by brothers and sister, Benjamin (cello), Gretchen (violin, mandolin, vocals, and classical guitar), and Jeremiah (guitars and vocals). They perform an eclectic style of music. Yes, there are strong classical overtones, but then there’s also blistering guitar solos, driving bass and drums, a strong jazz influence, and even a little bit of funk thrown in for good measure. The concert was their Christmas concert and therefore was made up of a selection of classic Christmas carols, some original Christmas compositions, and some classical music with a twist that would make Jeff Lynne of The Electric Light Orchestra proud.

            The fact is these young people restored my faith in young musicians and singers. The singers’ part I’ll get to in a minute. In a time when popular music is made up “musicians” who sample other people’s work, rely heavily on synthesizers rather than real musicians, and hip hop themselves with lyrics that demean rather than inspire, this band is the real deal. There wasn’t a ho-hum number in the concert last night. Every song was a treat to hear. When Annie, Gretchen, and Jeremiah harmonize it’s one of those moments when you believe with all your heart that there just isn’t better harmony than the harmony sung by siblings. I know something about this. Both of my sisters were gifted vocalists and when the three of us sang together there was a “sound” that is unique to siblings. How I wish that they could have both been at the concert last night. As many of you are aware, my oldest sister Barbara (my brother-in-law’s wife), passed away earlier this year. She was a trained pianist as well, earned a degree in music education, and taught music for 40 years. She is greatly missed. She would have been in Heaven last night. Well, come to think of it, she was and is in Heaven now. My other sister was unable to attend due to ongoing health concerns. She would have loved the concert. My other brother-in-law, Don, did go with Charlie and me, so it was just the three musketeers last night.

            Annie is not only a virtuoso on the violin, but she has a beautiful soprano voice. My goodness that girl can sing. My favorite two selections last night were the last two songs of the concert. First, an incredible version of “O Holy Night”. Annie’s voice was like an angel’s voice. She nailed the high part near the end and for the first time in many years I was brought to tears right there in the theater simply by hearing her performance. (Tears when hearing music, that is. I’ve had a few cries over the past 24 months or so given the loss of my father, my mother, my sister, a son-in-law, and two dear aunts and a close uncle) I found myself thinking that when we get to Heaven, we’re going to be hearing songs of praise like that forever. I love life and living, but I’m not afraid to go to Heaven. It’s what I’m looking forward to. The very last song, an encore, was Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song”. Mel must have been grinning ear to ear after hearing Annie sing his song and especially hear the consummate jazz guitar playing of Camille’s husband who also plays bass in the band. I apologize again for not being absolutely sure of his name, but I believe it is Mario.

            Here’s the deal. If you want to be blessed, hear young people actually playing instruments and singing, and basically be treated to an evening that you won’t forget, then go see this band. Support their mission if you can. I can’t say enough good things about them. In the meantime, have yourself a merry little Christmas and never forget the reason for the season. Yes, I know. Cliché on top of cliché. But in this case, I really mean it. Merry Christmas!

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