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Neal Morse Forges a Fifth Annual COAH Christmas at The Foundry

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Approximately five years ago musician Neal Morse - the multi-instrumentalist who many around the world consider a prog rock god - stepped up to the call and founded his own church called City On A Hill in Nashville, Tennessee. No sooner did COAH emerge amongst the 700 other houses of worship in Music City that so did a new tradition - their annual Christmas concert that returned this year to The Foundry on December 07, 2019.

Neal Morse Forges a Fifth Annual COAH Christmas at The Foundry
Neal Morse and the COAH worship team in Nashville.

Now, Neal Morse is no stranger to putting on a show as he can often be found on the road with his many musical projects that include the NMB, Flying Colors and Transatlantic. With half a decade under their belt the COAH crew has found the perfect formula for a night of festive fun and seasonal holiday cheer - and the large crowd in attendance proved that the message is getting out in town that this is a Christmas party with a purpose.

The COAH Christmas concert featured many of the same members of the church band and the inclusion of Neal's son Will, daughter Jayda and grand-daughter made this a family related celebration to remember. Patrons were treated to a generous amount of Christmas snacks, cookies and warm beverages to keep them fueled up during the two-hours of holiday magic that showcased a fair mix of secular and spiritual songs.

"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" kicked off the festivities with COAH forging imaginative ideas to the traditional arrangement. This tactic was successfully applied to a number of well-known tunes. Lead female vocalist Julie Harrison took us on a spirited "Sleigh Ride" which had her fan club cheering loudly. She also shined on "My Favorite Things" which was another composition that the group took artistic liberty with. We thoroughly enjoyed the almost Allman Brothers-jazzy vibe of that Sound of Music classic.

Neal Morse Forges a Fifth Annual COAH Christmas at The Foundry
Neal Morse - the prog rock pastor increases his flock in Music City.

Another King was recognized with two songs made famous by Elvis including COAH's funky take on "Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me". The choir was angelic on "Oh Come Let Us Adore Him" and later "Joy To The World". Another highlight was the Horn Band who did a number of mash-ups of popular music mixed in with Christmas carols. They creatively stated that "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town" as a "Mission Impossible".

Much of the music featured on Saturday was from a newly released CD - City On A Hill Wishes You A Very Merry Christmas! that was available for sale that night. "I Pray on Christmas" was aptly handled by Will Morse. A blending of "Winter Wonderland/Don't Worry Be Happy" was another winner from the CD and concert as was "Silver Bells", "The Little Drummer Boy" and more.

Neal was a warm host and his usual wit and humor was on display especially when he told a story about writing a new Christmas carol that made its effective debut in Nashville. Morse described how he was on a ski lift in Colorado with his new son in law and by the time the ride up the mountain was over he had the chorus complete and was citing verbatim for his daughter's significant other. "Worldwide Sleigh Ride" was a sassy secular tune that heralded Santa's arrived at the party. COAH concluded the concert with a festive "Feliz Navidad" to send folks on their merry way.

Neal Morse Forges a Fifth Annual COAH Christmas at The Foundry
Scenes from the Fifth Annual COAH Christmas party at The Foundry.

Related Links: For more information on COAH and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- City On A Hill | Neal Morse | The Foundry


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