Updated: Jun 4, 2019
On February 16th, 2019, The Upper Room presented Dove Award winning singer, Matthew Ward, in concert.
Founder and host, Ron Strand, greeted the audience and introduced singer, Felson Palad. Felson opened the concert with an expressive performance of Gary Valenciano’s “Could You Be Messiah?”
After making some announcements, Ron conducted a trivia contest and tossed out an Upper Room T-shirt to everyone who answered correctly. Some of the questions were: where are Panama hats made (Guatemala), what movie won the first Best Picture Oscar (“Wings”), where were French fries invented (Belgium), what were the Canary Islands named after (dogs), and which country invented the Caesar salad (Mexico)?
Now it was time for the main event. Ron introduced Matthew Ward, who took the stage with a full band and two background singers. Matthew began the concert with the upbeat tune, “It’s All Right,” and followed that up with the beautiful ballad, “Summer Snow.”
Having dealt with depression in the past, Matthew said he has a strong burden for those who struggle with the condition. Matthew sang “Psalms 61” as a prayer over the audience.
Matthew sang “Most High,” a song he never recorded.
Matthew gave the audience a glimpse into his creative flow. Many songwriters write the lyrics before the music and others write songs in the reverse order. Matthew said he’s written songs both ways. In fact, on one occasion he completely produced a song before writing the lyrics. Despite painting himself into a corner creatively, Matthew was satisfied with the final result.
That valuable insight into Matthew’s songwriting process was the perfect lead-in to the next song “Bring Me to the Cross,” which took him three years to write. After singing “Who Is Like You, Lord?,” Matthew performed one of the most well-known songs of the evening, Keith Green’s “There Is a Redeemer.” Matthew’s melodious, soulful voice and the gorgeous arrangement made this a highlight of the concert.
Matthew opened up about two major low points in his life. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1994. During that trying time, he wrote a heart-felt letter to God, which became the basis for “To the King.” He also shared the heartbreaking story of his daughter’s death, which was just over a year ago.
Matthew performed “I Will Worship You” from his “Even Now” album.
The evening wouldn’t have been complete without some songs from when Matthew was a member of the group 2nd Chapter of Acts. Matthew dug deep into the catalog and pulled out some gems. The set included the Southern gospel tinged “Mansion Builder” and the show-stopping “Which Way the Wind Blows,” which was written by Matthew’s sisters, Nelly Greisen and Annie Herring.
Matthew performed “My Jesus, I Love Thee” from one of his favorite albums, “Hymns,” and closed out the concert with a spirited rendition of the 2nd Chapter of Acts classic, “Easter Song.”
Matthew Ward delivered a powerful and uplifting evening of music…another unique event at The Upper Room.