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The Upper Room: Leon Patillo



On June 15th, 2019, The Upper Room presented singer, Leon Patillo, in concert.


The event began at 7:30 pm when founder and host, Ron Strand, greeted the audience and initiated a trivia contest where those who correctly answered a question received a CD or book. The questions were comprised of a series of hints about famous figures from the past and present. The audience was up to the challenge, successfully identifying most of the mystery individuals after only one hint.


Some of the questions were: I shot down over a dozen German aircraft in WWII (Chuck Yeager), I was a professor at Cambridge University (C.S. Lewis), I started out as a radio announcer for the Chicago Cubs (Ronald Reagan), I lived in an attic with my family during WWII (Anne Frank), I’m a Christian who won a Best Actor Oscar (Denzel Washington).


Taking care of some housekeeping items, Ron reminded the audience that The Upper Room is an independent ministry that’s sustained by generous donors (Support The Upper Room). Ron then brought up longtime Upper Room volunteers, Richard and Carol Rodriguez. Ron asked board member, Kyle Keffer, to pray over the faithful couple and ask for God’s blessings on their upcoming move to Texas.


The concert officially kicked off when Ron invited Leon Patillo to the stage. Leon played keyboards and sang the classic chorus “Cornerstone.” Leon followed that up with one of his top hits, the uplifting pop tune “Star of the Morning.”


In the middle of “Dance Children Dance,” Leon broke out into a variation of Santana’s “Oye Como Va” and played an impressive electric guitar solo on the keyboard. Leon is often asked how he went from Santana (he was the band’s lead vocalist from 1974-75) to Hosanna. Leon opened up about his lifestyle before coming to Christ and how his life instantaneously changed when he said the Sinner’s Prayer.


Leon’s rich baritone voice was perfectly suited to the popular power ballad “You Raised Me Up.” For “Hallelujah Dance,” Leon got the audience up on their feet and taught them a few simple dance moves, which made for a fun and interactive experience.


“Pullin’ Down Strongholds,” which had a calypso feel, featured electric guitar, bass guitar and drum solos. Switching up musical styles, “J.E.S.U.S.” had a disco sound. Again, Leon encouraged the audience to stand up and join him in singing the staccato chorus.


Taking a break from singing, Leon read several excerpts from his book Hidden Treasures In Your Field, which includes many personal experiences and insights. Leon read a passage from Luke 8 which revealed that, in contrast to the many large crowds Jesus taught, he also ministered in small villages. The application was clear: “never despise anything small.”


Leon sang a beautiful, a capella rendition of the chorus “Father, I Adore You.” Though directed to God, Leon sang it as a blessing over the fathers in the audience (Father’s Day was the following day).


Leon sang one of his signature songs, “Flesh of My Flesh,” and then asked all the couples to stand and repeat encouraging and loving words to each other. As a tribute to his wife, Leon sang a slightly modified (and sanctified) version of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman.”


Leon challenged the audience with the question, “Who will you bring with you?” This was an effective segue to his evangelistic song “Go.” Leon’s final song affirmed that whether here or in heaven, we’ll see each other again. Leon closed out the concert by praying over the audience.


The evening with Leon Patillo was a worshipful, meaningful experience at The Upper Room.

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