New Harmony: Inspirational CD by Marie really inspires

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 10 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Donny and Marie Osmond entertain with dance, comedy and song at the Flamingo Showroom in Las Vegas with a show that rocks without compromise.

Osmond Entertainment

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They say Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers complemented each other perfectly. He gave her class and she made him sexy.

As a brother and sister act, Donny and Marie Osmond expand each other's range as well.

He gives her pizazz, she gives him depth.

At least that was my impression after catching their Vegas show recently.

My wife and I were interested to see how a couple of Mormon kids are keeping Vegas audiences enthralled while keeping things clean.

Here's the answer.

They do it with pizazz and depth.

Marie, especially, was on her game the night we were there.

After sharing a couple of harrowing — yet uplifting — stories of human kindness, she performed an operatic version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu" that not only gave many in the audience goose bumps, but sent me into the lobby to buy her 2010 inspirational CD, "I Can Do This."

I was pleased to learn that all proceeds from the recording go to her Children's Miracle Network.

I have many inspirational CDs by soloists ranging from Elvis and Sam Cooke to Merle Haggard and Kiri Te Kanawa. With most of them, the impression is the singer was handed a song list that was cobbled together by somebody else. But with Marie's CD, the song list is so quirky it had to be made by a person who had eclectic taste and a deep familiarity with the music.

And since the album was a labor of love for charity, I don't mind pumping it.

First, Marie prefers much more lush and cinematic arrangements than I do. I tend to like my religious music the same way I like my carrots — simple, crisp and nourishing.

But that said, this CD will be running through the player many times because of its authenticity. As Mac Sledge tells the little country band in the movie "Tender Mercies," Marie "sings it like she feels it."

"Pie Jesu" is here, as is Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus." So is "Bless This House," from the Golden Age of church solos.

There are also versions of Mormon worship chestnuts — "I Need Thee Every Hour," "Lead, Kindly, Light" and "How Great Thou Art."

An old Shaker hymn and the popular Christian anthem, "I Can Only Imagine" adds spice to the mix.

There are others here (Marie doesn't scrimp).

As for getting your own copy, Marie thanks Sheri Dew and her friends at Shadow Mountain (Deseret Book) for making the CD possible, so you might want to start there.

Or, while buzzing down I-15, you might want to catch a matinee performance and buy it on site.

The show will bolster your faith — not only in spiritual matters, but in the ability of good performers to entertain without giving into the pressure to use "blue" material.

Jerry Johnston is a former Deseret News staff writer. "New Harmony" appears weekly in Mormon Times.

Email: jerjohn@desnews.com

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