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Moses band brings strings, energy to town

By Glenn Evans
Jan. 9, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Annie Moses is used to misconceptions about what she and her namesake band do.

"When you tell people you play stringed instruments, they have the impression of 80-year-olds playing classical music," she said, contrasting that with the energetic blend of classical, jazz, pop, country, blue grass and other influences the Annie Moses Band will bring Friday to the Belcher Center at LeTourneau University.

Moses and her five siblings in the 11-musician group grew up under the classical music regimen, studying at The Julliard School where they explored other traditions.

"I wanted to have a place to combine that diverse style palette with a more personal message in terms of our faith and our family," she said.

Not a traditional worship band, the group writes and performs songs - and chooses covers such as Jim Croce's 1973, "I Got A Name" - based on the personal messages they convey.

"There's a wide range of messages that have to do with life experience and how God touches everyday life," Moses said.

Those messages are delivered with energy that draws audiences into the performance, she said.

"People clap along," she said. "It's a great show, on the tours. There's a lot of laughter, there's hopefully a lot of inspiration."

There will be a lot of youth on the Belcher Center stage for this show. A choir and an orchestra recruited from among area musicians will fill out the Annie Moses Band sound.

Roy Hayes, a promoter who presented the band at Carnegie Hall along with a choir and orchestra, suggested making the local involvement a part of the road tour.

"A group of players has come together from the East Texas area - Longview, Tyler, Marshall, Shreveport, Carthage, Jasper, maybe even some other areas," Hayes said. "They are coming from everywhere. Part of the purpose of this is sort of educational in nature. They'll perform throughout the concert."

The Annie Moses Band conducts a Fine Arts Summer Academy, and Moses said the band is supportive of the arts in education regardless of what eventual fields students choose for careers.

"It not only builds your mind," she said. "But it also gives you a unique artistic voice with which to express yourself."

This tour also promotes the band's first commercial album release, "Pilgrims and Prodigals." Each song on the two-disc set depicts aspects of either the Biblical pilgrim or Christ's prodigal son parable.

The pilgrims are making their wandering way toward God, the prodigals are rebelling against their heavenly father.

"The project is a compilation of songs that tell the message about one of those kinds of people," Moses said, noting her brother, Alex's, song, "Road Well Traveled." "It's written in the pattern of the poem, 'The Road Not Taken,' by Robert Frost. It really was a fun album to make."

So, is the bandleader a pilgrim or a prodigal?

"Probably a little bit of both," she conceded. "But I'm trying to be the pilgrim."



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