Emma Stoltzfus — Staff writer
Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey kicked off their 2017 Christmas tour with a concert at Dordt, right here in Sioux Center.
Chattering students and members of the community filled the main floor of the BJ Haan. The stage was set with Christmas trees, lights, and smoke machines that covered the singers’ shoes with mysterious Christmas-y fog at some points.
The concert began with the duo backlit by purple light as they sang “O Come Let Us Adore Him.”
The tour began just seven weeks after Grant had surgery on her throat for two cancerous tumors in her thyroid. After the successful surgery, doctors had given her a seven-month recovery to return to her former singing strength.
Grant held little back.
The two-hour concert was composed of the two singers taking turns singing both Christmas music and a few inspirational gospel pieces. Several times they had the audience stand or clap for specific songs.
Juliana Martinez—a freshman at Dordt—said she liked the concert and had only heard the two singers on the radio before.
In-between pieces, the duo shared testimonies and encouraged people to sponsor Ethiopian children in need through Compassion.
Compassion is a relief organization whose mission statement is “Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name,” according to their official website. Individuals wishing to donate can either give to Compassion’s general fund or pick a specific child to sponsor for $38 a month.
Compassion had a table and volunteers in the foyer of the BJ Haan offering information and packets representing individual children in need.
Schwa Clark, who has worked with Compassion for the last two years, estimated that they handed out 50-60 packets.
“What’s big for me about this,” said Clark about the impact of the project, “is that [donors] not only change a child’s life, but it also changes them.”
On either side of the Compassion booth, both Grant and Gokey had tables of merchandise and music albums for sale.
Natalie Grant is a recipient of the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for 5 years. Grant has been nominated six times since 2011 for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.
Danny Gokey was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album two days before the tour. He is a Number One Christian Hit Artist, and was an American Idol Finalist.