A joyful noise filled the sanctuary of Village Presbyterian Church Friday.
But there was no choir. And the organ sat silent. Instead, the noise came from a barefoot blond in a shimmering dress with an electric guitar. Samantha Fish and her band packed 800 people into the pews for a free concert, the first of its kind at the church.
Fish, a 2007 graduate of Shawnee Mission North, has quickly built a reputation as one of the most talented blues guitarists of her generation. Her first album, Runaway, released in 2011, earned Fish Best New Artist Debut honors at the Blues Music Awards. She’s been steadily playing shows across the country ever since — but continues to maintain an active schedule in the Kansas City area.
Though Village Presbyterian has hosted rock concerts before, they have primarily be aimed at youth. A year and a half ago, Senior Pastor Tom Are challenged his Connectional Ministries staff to come up with an event that would appeal to members of the community of all ages. Cindy Wilcox, director of Connectional Ministries, researched local acts that could fit the bill, and booked Fish.
It’s safe to say they achieved their goal: Fish had people from all ages and stages grinning, from the young girl playing air guitar in the aisles to the retirees giving her a standing ovation at the finale.
Are opened the night with an intro noting that the “blue are about the harsher side of life,” and encouraged attendees to donate to Cross-Lines on the way out.
“Music is one thing that brings the community together,” Are said after the event. “We like to serve our community in a wide variety of ways, so offering a concert in a safe and welcoming venue for any and all to enjoy is something we are happy to do.”