Continuing to blog a bit here about the concert in Shipshewana from (now) two weeks ago. (The beatings will continue until morale improves. Which is to say that I'm going to keep on blogging about Gospel music even if none of my readers are interested in it, though I'm not entirely sure why.)
It would probably be an understatement to say that Ernie Haase is one of the most powerful gospel music tenors of the past fifty years, but I'll just stop with that generalization. He has a truly wonderful voice--able to hit high notes, but also mature and strong--and is, in my opinion, justly beloved by his fans. "Oh What a Savior" is considered to be a song that Ernie "owns," and for good reason.
At the concert two weeks ago, Ernie had a kind of quietness about him. He came out at the very beginning of the concert in jeans and a casual shirt (about which he made a humorous comment) and led the audience in prayer, which somehow I hadn't expected. He did not sing "Oh, What a Savior" nor, as far as I can remember, any "big ballads" that showcased his amazing voice. There was plenty of high energy from the group as a whole, including songs like "Swingin' On the Golden Gate" (not actually one of my favorites), but Ernie himself, by himself, was low-key. He made some comments, always with self-deprecating humor, that made it seem that he was tired and feeling his age. (He's only forty-five.)
Ernie clearly loves children, though he and his wife (Lisa, daughter of gospel music great George Younce) have no children of their own. In a classy break from our tell-all celebrity culture, Ernie doesn't talk about this, though indirect evidence indicates that it is a sadness to them. Toward the end of the concert he sang a song that I'd never heard before, which he said he originally wrote as a lullaby for his nieces and nephews. If you have children, don't be ashamed if it makes you a bit misty-eyed.
After the concert, Ernie was very kind in meeting his fans. Eldest Daughter asked him to sign an old Cathedrals CD (from the group he used to sing with) that was cut in the year she was born. When she told him that (that it was recorded in the year she was born), he said, "Oh, don't do that to me!" smiled, and signed it.
EHSS is on a vacation now for a few weeks. May they come back refreshed to bless more people with their lives and music.