It all begins with a song

Steven Curtis Chapman takes the CAC stage

In the world of Christian music, one name stands out: Steven Curtis Chapman. With 5 Grammys, 58 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, 1 American Music Award, 48 number one singles and having sold over 11 million albums – with 10 RIAA-certified gold or platinum — Steven Curtis Chapman is the most awarded artist in Christian music history.

His music career spans 30 years and Chapman has toured with many other artists, but after the successful release of his memoir, “Between Heaven & the Real World” last year, he decided to take on a new way of touring: solo.

His latest concert, “SCC SOLO: A Night of Hits, History, and Influences” will come to the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., 6 p.m. March 25. Local Christian music radio station WGRC, also celebrating 30 years in Christian music, are sponsoring this unique and special concert event.

According to Chapman, the remarkable task of telling the story of how he arrived at this place in his career has been amazing. “There’s something pretty profound about telling your story and just remembering,” he said. “I thought, what would be the greatest thing to do with this in terms of a concert, would be to do my book, almost set to music. Play the songs, the hit songs and the songs people know me for, but what if I wove my story together with those and kind of took people on a journey?”

Chapman thought simply utilizing only him and his guitars on stage would help tell his story just as he wanted, without particular set lists, production, or “smoke and mirrors” to hinder the narrative. “There’s a saying in Nashville,” he said, “‘It all begins with a song.’ When all the sound and lights are all put back in the trailer, it’s really about the songs and the way they connect with people.”

Chapman said there is a sort of freedom in being the lone artist on stage with just his guitar. He is able to tell his story, in any way he chooses, and in a way that both entertains and connects with his audience.

In addition, Chapman said this idea of remembering “isn’t just about the story about what has been, it’s what will be. Christian faith and the music that I sing talks a lot about the hope that we have, that the story isn’t far from over.” It is this aspect that makes “SCC Solo” about not only “remembering backwards but remembering forwards as well.”

The concert will include many of Chapman’s hit songs that audiences are familiar with, but will also include songs that have influenced the singer throughout his life, even the first piece he learned on the guitar: a Johnny Cash song. But, Chapman said, due to the breadth of work in his career, “If I did the concert I really wanted to do, it’d be about six hours long.” It’s a struggle, he said, to try and include all his songs — from 20 albums — plus the songs that have influenced him. But he attempts to squeeze little “bits and pieces” of many throughout the night. “I have to pick and choose which best tells the story,” he said.

Although the solo tour is only in its first season, Chapman feels that he could do this solo gig almost indefinitely. “Even with doing a lot of music in the night, there’s still a lot of songs left out. I think I could do round two and three of this and still have plenty of story to tell and plenty of songs to sing.”

For now, Chapman is trying to enjoy this season of reflection instead of jumping into the next thing, but he does think this time of remembering will inspire a new album sometime in the future. In fact, it has already spurred an exclusive live recording of the solo concert that will be available soon only at concerts and which includes one new studio song, “Remember to Remember.”

In addition to touring and promoting his memoir, Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, are busy with their foundation, Show Hope, which they began after the adoption of their first daughter, Shaohannah Hope, in 2000. The foundation started informally when the Chapmans met people who also wanted to adopt, but couldn’t afford it. “We felt like, with what we’d experienced, we wanted to help them experience it. So we began to help families that said, ‘If we just had some financial help, we could do this.’ “ Chapman said.

Soon the number of families grew and the Chapmans began asking others for help. To date, they’ve been able to help over 6,000 families from more than 60 countries. In addition, as a result of the foundation’s work and Chapman’s singing career, Show Hope has been given special consideration in China where children that are medically fragile or have special needs aren’t adoptable or aren’t recognized by the system until they’re healthier. Show Hope now has five medical centers in China that care for these children and have helped over 500 children to regain their health and be adopted. “It’s a great opportunity and blessing,” Chapman said. “Because of the work we do, we continue to see more opportunity.”

Although Steven Curtis Chapman is content to enjoy his season of reflection, the stories will continue for this acclaimed artist.

Tickets for this event can be purchased at www.caclive.com or by calling the box office at 570-326-2424.


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