Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ken Alston Jr.

Ken Alston, Jr. didn’t just share his extraordinary voice with us in his Sunday night concert at The Triad, he also shared is deep faith and that combination made for a blessed evening. Singing songs ranging from Stevie Wonder to Psalm 23, he was skillfully accompanied on piano by James Spears, whom he had known since they were students at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

From an early age Alston knew he was gifted, but that his giftedness would have a shadow side in his life. “It meant I was going to be lonely,” he said. But as his show, “An Evening Of Love Songs and Inspiration,” demonstrated, he found a way to conquer -- trusting God.

“Faith comes by hearing and not by speaking it into yourself,” he told his approving audience. He sang and he spoke of his vulnerability; at one point he had cried out to God, “Are you still in love with me?”

Alston has received that answer in the affirmative and now plans to serve God as a deacon in his church as well as in song. He had support along the way from, among others, his mother. In an especially moving moment he left the stage to sing “Did You Ever Know That You’re My Hero?” to her in the audience. I also liked his combining of one of my favorite songs, “What a Wonderful World” with “From a Distance”: “God is watching us and he thinks to himself/Oh, these are my children and I’ve made a wonderful world.”

And Alston made a wonderful world for us that night. His performance was part of Lee Summers' Just A Piano concert series at The Triad. It was the first time I had heard him sing solo, but I have enjoyed him twice in concert with Three Mo’ Tenors and once two years ago when the Tenors sang for us at Broadway Blessing.

In addition to performing live, Alston also has just released a CD of spiritual music. Inquiries about that or about booking him can be addressed to kalston9806@gmail.com or by calling (410) 908-3486.

For upcoming Triad concerts visit www.triadnyc.com.

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