The Upper Room: Bennett, Willard and Hockensmith II Concert Recap Blog
Founder and host, Ron Strand, greeted the audience at 7:30 pm. He introduced local band PointMade, which opened the concert. Their set included many classic rock tunes including: “Baby, I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton, “Danny’s Song,” by Loggins and Messina, and “Doctor My Eyes” by Jackson Browne.
The group’s rousing rendition of The Doobie Brothers classic “Listen to the Music” was a highlight of their set. For their final song, PointMade invited Ron to sing lead on Neil Young’s “Old Man.” Ron delivered an amazing vocal and the band’s accompaniment was exceptional.
After the song, Ron switched back to emcee. Ron made some announcements, which included an update on the “Love Song” rockumentary, which is still in the process of being edited. He said to stay tuned for more information about its upcoming release.
Ron also reminded the audience that The Upper Room is only able to continue due to generous donations (Support The Upper Room). With tax season approaching, Ron mentioned that The Upper Room is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, so all donations are tax deductable.
The following day was Super Sunday, so Ron did Super Bowl trivia and tossed out Upper Room T-shirts to those who correctly answered his questions. Some of the questions were: What is replacing plastic bottles at this year’s Super Bowl (recyclable aluminum), What’s the alternate bowl that airs during the Super Bowl (the Puppy Bowl), and What is the most watched championship finals in the world (the World Cup)?
Ron welcomed Kelly Willard to the stage. Kelly played keyboards and Hadley provided accompaniment on his electric guitar. Kelly expressed her amazement that God thought of us when we were still in our mother’s womb. She made the profound statement that we are “of God’s thoughts and always in God’s thoughts.” This sentiment was the perfect lead-in to her song “Psalm 139:7-14 (Where Could I Go From Your Spirit).”
Kelly quoted Psalm 119:32 and then sang one of her biggest hits, “Willing Heart.” Kelly stated that forgiveness can set our hearts free. This set the stage for her next song, “Mercy.”
After singing “I Cannot Live Without You,” Kelly wrapped up her portion of the concert with two worship songs: “Cares Chorus” and “Make Me a Servant.”
Ron invited Bob Bennett to come up to the stage. Bob expressed his appreciation for being invited back to The Upper Room. He opened his set with the clever folk tune “Joy Deep as Sorrow.”
Bob told the audience that he was married 17 years ago to the day. Bob performed a tearjerker about the way his father cheered him on when he played baseball as a kid (“A Song About Baseball”). Staying with the family theme, Bob sang a song about his daughter, entitled “Little Kate.” He said he wrote the song in 20 minutes.
Bob noted that he got serious about following God 43 years ago. He said one of the mysterious things about being a Christian is that “you’re involved in something that’s done but never done.” That theme of sanctification was a main focus of “Faithful.”
Bob said that from time to time he’s asked which of his songs tells his story in the most succinct fashion. He answered that question by performing “Man of the Tombs.” For his last solo song, Bob sang the hymn “My Redeemer Lives.”
Kelly and Hadley joined Bob to close out the concert. Bob performed “You’re Welcome Here.” Bob sang lead and Kelly provided background vocals on one of his signature songs, “Come and See.”
For the finale, Kelly sang upbeat versions of two hymns, “Nothing But the Blood/Washed in the Blood.”
It was an inspirational ending to a night of music and worship at The Upper Room.