This concert was especially meaningful to us because Thelma and David Steward were in attendance
Last night we were presented by Jazz St. Louis at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. This is the second year in a row I’ve been in St. Louis on my birthday. It is a city that I love for many reasons, not the least of which is the many great musicians of all generations that it has birthed. From Clark Terry and Miles Davis to Todd Williams and Peter Martin and Jeremy Davenport, to Russell Gunn, Montez Coleman, Tony Suggs, Raymond Angry and the many alumni of East St. Louis’ Lincoln High Program to young Josh Williams, St. Louis has an eloquent roll call.
This concert was especially meaningful to us because Thelma and David Steward were in attendance. We would not be on this tour were it not for their generous support and belief. With great pride I presented them with a Frank Stewart photo of the choir and orchestra in action and the honorary naming of a box seat in our home, Frederick P. Rose Hall. The feeling between he and Thelma animates a room. Their family’s investment has transformed the arts community in St. Louis. Today we will hear from Mr. Steward:
Thelma and I and the Steward Family Foundation have partnered with Jazz St. Louis and many other organizations to bring a wide variety of artists to our community and others. Nothing that we have supported and made an investment in was comparable to what we saw last night!
God has blessed Wynton with such a gift, such a genius. Only the Lord working through him could have orchestrated what we witnessed. We had the opportunity to honor God in a very special way and we appreciate Wynton partnering with us on this wonderful event. Bringing this tour to fruition has been an incredible journey, and it would not have been possible without our trust in God.
One of the things that we as a community have always had challenges with, is trusting. This tour has been years in the making, so we had to trust, we had to have faith. God trusted us, and we trusted Him. In the word it says, “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Trust was a big part of this and I hope this will be an example for others to follow.
The Bible says “where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” This was the full body of Christ working together for His glory, and His spirit shone through. It was the most impressive concert that I have ever been to and it left an indelible impression on Thelma and I. Thelma’s simple word to me was, “awesome!” This morning I was reminded of the verse, “give and it will be given to you in good measure, pressed down and overflowing.” I didn’t know how overflowing it would be.
Thank you and God bless you.
Today, we travel to Kansas City where we will be presented by the historic Harriman-Jewell Series at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Earlier this week on October 15, the great gospel educator and artist, Karla Scott, led a workshop with over 150 Kansas City students. We look forward to uplifting our Midwestern brothers and sisters tonight.
“Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration”, will be on tour on October 3-23, and will be webcast live on October 24th, 25th and 26th at 8PM ET on http://wyntonmarsalis.org/live