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Review: Point of Grace celebrates 25th anniversary with concert  

Contemporary Christian group Point of Grace performs in concert Friday at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. [Photo by Pat Gilliland]
Contemporary Christian group Point of Grace performs in concert Friday at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. [Photo by Pat Gilliland]
PONCA CITY -- The unmistakable love of God, people and music that defined Point of Grace from the group’s start was on joyous display at the first of its two 25th anniversary concerts in Oklahoma.

The historic Poncan Theatre in downtown Ponca City was a perfect venue Friday as Denise Jones, Shelley Breen and Leigh Cappillino celebrated family, friends, songs, songwriters and sharing the love and Gospel of Christ.

The pulsating pop beat of “I’ll Be Believing” launched a trip down memory lane that offered plenty of tributes to the early years and evolution of the group that started as a quartet including Breen and Norman High School graduates Denise Masters Jones, Terry Lang Jones and Heather Floyd Payne.

The concert also showcased Point of Grace’s more recent work as a trio, including stunning performances of “The Climb,” “Home” and “Directions Home,” all from their 2015 album “Directions Home.”

I had not heard the trio sing Point of Grace’s signature songs from the era when the quartet’s first 24 singles reached No. 1 on the contemporary Christian music charts, and I feared some of the distinctive energy, emotion and textured harmonies would be lost, especially on songs where Terry and Heather had sung the solos or added vocal flourishes. I was thrilled as Denise, Shelley and Leigh brought their own strengths and personalities that fully respected the originals on new configurations of early hits including “The Great Divide,” “Keep the Candle Burning,” “Faith, Hope and Love,” “Gather at the River” and a riveting “Steady On.”

Did I mention this was also a celebration of family, friends and faith? For Point of Grace, “Circle of Friends” is more than just one of its hit songs, performed Friday as a sing-along with the audience. The women kept up an easy-going, laughter-filled conversation throughout the evening, and the 90-year-old, 800-seat theater — even with the lower auditorium comfortably filled and some guests in the balcony — accommodated well the intimate atmosphere.

Contemporary Christian group Point of Grace performs in concert Friday at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. [Photo by Pat Gilliland]
Contemporary Christian group Point of Grace performs in concert Friday at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. [Photo by Pat Gilliland]

Oklahoma concerts are a homecoming for Jones, and she proudly introduced her parents, Norman residents Don and Janice Masters, and credited them with the foundation of her faith and her heart for sharing the Gospel. A hometown highlight came when Jones told of learning to sing from her oldest sister, longtime Ponca City resident Donita Cooper, whom she invited to join the trio onstage to sing “Nothing Greater Than Grace,” where she fit right in on harmonies and solo lines.

Highlighting the friends and faith connection was a performance of “Praise Forevermore,” which a fan requested during a pre-concert meet-and-greet after sharing that the song helped him when he first became a Christian. It’s not a song they have worked on as a trio, but they took time to work out parts before the concert and sang it with joyous delight!

While much of Point of Grace’s music features trade-offs on lead and harmony vocals, some songs bear the signature sound of a particular singer. Among those featured Friday were Cappillino’s “Heal the Wound,” Breen’s “Jesus Will Still Be There” and Jones’ “Blue Skies.”

Other musical highlights were “I Wish, “Day By Day” and the worshipful “Lord I Need You.” Providing just the right accompaniment throughout were bandleader and guitarist (and Leigh’s husband) Dana Cappillino, drummer Andy Hubbard and pianist Michael Passons.

As when good friends or beloved family members come to visit, bringing the evening to a close was a challenge. Breen kept up a lively, “just-between-friends” banter, eventually making sure guests knew about the “Circle of Friends” weekend planned in October in Nashville, Tenn.; the “Cooking With Grace” cookbook on sale in the lobby; and that a new Christmas CD, “Sing Noel,” is scheduled to be released Oct. 12 through LifeWay Christian Resources.

The music ended with the heartfelt “How You Live (Turn Up the Music).” But the homecoming/reunion continued in the lobby, where the women of Point of Grace soon joined family and fans for pictures, autographs and conversation.

More of the Oklahoma celebration will take place Sunday, Aug. 27, when Point of Grace performs at 6 p.m. at Crossings Community Church, 14600 N Portland Ave. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information, go to crossings.church/point-of-grace.

Pat Gilliland

For The Oklahoman

Related Photos
Contemporary Christian group Point of Grace performs in concert Friday at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. [Photo by Pat Gilliland]

Contemporary Christian group Point of Grace performs in concert Friday at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. [Photo by Pat Gilliland]

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Pat Gilliland

Pat Gilliland, currently a senior copy editor on the Presentation Desk, has worked at The Oklahoman since September 1982. She joined the Presentation Desk after in 2000 after nearly 10 years a religion editor. Before that, she served as a... Read more ›

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