“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” ~ Mark Caine
Once more I was honored to photograph a very special event this evening; the Joni Mitchell Tribute concert at First Presbyterian Church. The show was part of their Music for Mission series, this time organized by Anita Courtney, the same brilliant woman who organized last year’s Leonard Cohen Tribute. A few of the artists performed in both shows, but tonight featured a few new acts, one of which was my friend Melissa Snow-Groves. I just photographed Melissa and her family (David Hurst, Juni, and newborn Rory) last weekend, so it was really cool to see her again so soon. I’d heard Melissa sing in the church choir and the Bach Choir, but I had no idea until tonight just how truly powerful and gorgeous her voice is. She sang Blue, the title track from Joni’s 1971 album of the same name. I made myself as small as I could in the seat by the piano so I could try to capture a somewhat unique angle that you don’t usually see. I don’t know if the rest of the audience could feel the power of her voice, but from where I was, I was absolutely blown away, and I just can’t say that about too many vocalists. Did I mention she’s an excellent pianist, too? If I had heard nothing else tonight but Melissa I would have called it a great night. As it happened, there were a lot of beautiful music and musicians in this show. It was anything but a blue mood, and I’m still just floored over how gifted Melissa is. If you ever have a chance to hear her sing, don’t miss it.