Christian Singer Has Many Endeavors

Concert preview

John Michael Talbot Location and time: St. Aloysius Church, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 reserved, $12 general admission, $10 for groups of 10 or more, available at area Christian book stores

John Michael Talbot keeps himself very busy.

While Talbot has sold more albums than any other male contemporary Christian artist, his endeavors don’t stop there. In addition to recording 30 albums, Talbot has written several inspirational books, founded a monastic community in the Ozark Mountains and raised millions of dollars for Mercy Corps International, an organization providing relief for the poor.

That’s all the more reason next week’s concert is a welcome event for his fans. Although Talbot has a new release, “Chant From the Hermitage,” he isn’t embarking on a full-scale tour. Concert sponsor The Kaufer Company has him scheduled for just two performances - one here and one in Seattle.

“It’s the miniest of mini-tours,” said Ed Sinclair, owner and manager of Spokane’s Kaufer location.

Why? These special appearances are to raise money for the monastic community Talbot founded, and his continuing work for Mercy Corps International.

Talbot’s newest release is his first effort at a very old form - Gregorian chant. It’s a natural progression for Talbot, whose solo releases have always been on the contemplative side. His soothing voice and acoustic guitar are in stark contrast to the rock sound which increasingly dominates the contemporary Christian genre, but Talbot maintains an eager following nonetheless.

He first came to national attention with folk-rock band Mason Proffit, which he founded with his brother, Terry. After that band broke up in early ‘70s, Talbot went on a spiritual journey that led him from mainline Protestantism to evangelical revival and finally, Roman Catholicism.

He spent some time as a celibate friar, but married Viola Pratka in 1989. The couple still live as part of the Ozark monastic community; it’s one of the few that has both married and celibate members.

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