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Vocalist shines in 'Celebration of Faith'

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OPERA: Vocalist Kris Stephens performs a sold-out concert at the Honeywell House.
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PERFORMANCES: The “Celebration of Faith” concert highlighted local musicians and faith-inspired classical music, held at the Honeywell House on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

Nearly every seat in the Honeywell House was filled Tuesday evening for a “Celebration of Faith,” a concert showcasing local musicians and religious hymns.

Vocalist Kris Stephens was joined by pianist Susan Vanlandingham for a performance that spanned the likes of Mozart, Bach and Handel, a selection which Stephens hopes the audience found encouraging for its references to scripture.

I want people to realize God has taken my life and used it to honor Him and glorify Him in my singing,” she said.

It took Stephens nine months to prepare for the concert, which started as a way for her to promote her new CD recorded for Grandstaff-Hentgen Funeral Home.

She’s performed all around the county, like during the National Day of Prayer. And she was even a semi-finalist in the 2017 Harold Haugh Light Opera Vocal Competition.

Stephens’ vocal career started while she was attending Indiana Wesleyan University. She originally planned to major in music as a pianist, and would even accompany student vocalists on the piano to help pay her bills. But she later decided to seek vocal lessons for herself, eventually changing her major to emphasize singing.

“I started doing competitions and I started winning,” Stephens said. “I don’t know how all that happened, but it was just amazing. Susan Jones (overseer at the Honeywell House) then began asking me to perform.”

Stephens was shocked when she was named a semi-finalist in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Vocal Competition, a contest which she considered competitive.

Friends and mentors of Stephens attended Tuesday’s concert, including Dr. Tammy Huntington, whom Stephens credited as someone who helped launch her music career. Stephens was also joined by well-known local musician Susan Vanlandingham, choir director and organist for First United Methodist Church in Wabash.