Today I got to attend my first ever John Michael Talbot concert. My best friend went with me. I'm glad she was there because I was so nervous! I've been listening to this man's music for the past 21 years or so, but have never seen him perform in person. He was the one who piqued my interest in Catholicism & modern monasticism way back when I was a teenager. Through his music & writings, I was introduced to the saints Francis, Benedict & Patrick. There was something about his work that made me believe he knew God in a different way
& it made me want to know God like that as well.
We arrived at the Episcopal church an hour early. It was afternoon & we entered into a sunlit sanctuary where John Michael was rehearsing. He was dressed in his brown robe with black socks & sandals & sported a long grey beard. We were the first ones there besides the crew & it was a perfect opportunity to find out more about the hermitage in Arkansas & related groups here in Oregon. The place started to fill up about 30 minutes out with mostly grey heads & some middle aged folks scattered here & there. Many were still in their "church clothes". I felt slightly out of place in jeans & a sweatshirt, but no one seemed to care. When he had finished his sound check, I watched John Michael walk out to the side of the altar. He paused in front of the sanctuary light, bowed & crossed himself as he exited through a door.
When he returned a few minutes later, he invited us to interact, to sing, to pray... I knew the majority of songs & remembered the first time I'd heard each one. I enjoyed his style of mixing song, story & history of the church. He seems to have a great sense of humour & the ability to transition into serious business effortlessly.
After 2 wonderful hours, we were dismissed & folks headed to the library where he was signing. My friend & I got in line. I was too nervous to present him with the prayer book I had brought, so my friend offered to do it for me. He flipped through it, asking all sorts of questions. I stammered & stumbled over my responses. He signed "In Jesus, JM", but I couldn't leave without thanking him for his music & letting him know how he had influenced my conversion to Catholicism. He reached out his hand with a big smile & said "Welcome!" I was on cloud nine. So that was my first experience with John Michael live. I was very happy to discover he seems as I have always imagined him to be... very human, very talented, very much in love with God.
John Michael Talbot on Facebook