Date: 23 April 1997
To: RichMailList
Subject: [RichMailList 130]: Wheaton, IL 04/18 reviews

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Hi Rich Fans,

As you read these reviews, it's apparent that the "Canticle of the Plains" CD is now for sale at the concerts. For those overseas that have inquired, I'm still trying to get some info on how to order one. I will post as soon as I get it.

A couple other items of interest - I'm still waiting for tour info from William Morris, and there are now over 500 subscribed to the Rich Mullins Mailing List.

-- Danl

*** Gina Blanchette's Wheaton review ***

From: Gina Blanchette
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 13:24:53
Subject: April 18 concert

Danl -

Sending a review of Rich's concert and the Canticle of the Plains 
premiere at Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL on Friday, April 18, 1997.
And to you, Danl, prayers and thanks for the work you do.

I had a seat directly in front of Rich and in the second row.  Great 
seat for a concert.  He and Mitch did "I Will Sing" and "Carry On."  
Rich all by himself sounded better than a whole orchestra and backup 
singers on "Sing Your Praise to the Lord."  Rich and Mitch did a 
number with mandolin and guitar.  Mitch did the lemonade song and the 
New Mexico song and said Rich was being real nice to let him do two 
songs.  We did the three part round mentioned in other reviews.  Rich 
and Mitch were waiting for Beaker to show up and he finally did with 
Aidan.  Rich and Beaker played "Let Mercy Lead" and Aidan stayed by 
Beaker until he decided to start walking around the stage and Mitch 
had to go get him.  Aidan is adorable.  Julie and the baby were 
there, too, but off-stage.  It was neat to see them.  Mitch is a very 
good songwriter/musician/singer with a fine voice and, as has already 
been mentioned a very sweet, humble disposition.

It was a good concert, but only lasted about 45 minutes!  And I had 
such a good seat!!  They were really just the opening act for the premiere 
of the play which was being put on by the Wheaton College students.  Rich 
said it was hard opening for himself and he was right.  Things were a little 
disjointed.  Mitch even had to tell a joke while they were waiting 
for Beaker.  Rich had to go offstage and find a mandolin while Mitch 
was telling the joke.  In fact, when Rich initially walked on stage 
he apologized for his appearance.  His hair was still wet and he 
hadn't shaved.  He said he had a choice of being full or being pretty 
and he chose being full.  He joked that he liked being here, but 
didn't care much for the weather.  He said he wasn't our fault 
though, unless there was some unconfessed sin in the camp.  I thought 
it was funny, but the crowd wasn't terribly receptive.  I think I 
grinned through the whole concert.  Rich and Mitch were amiable and 
weren't rattled about the arrangements.  Rich's jokes weren't rude 
and he made several astute comments throughout the concert.  Even 
with a shortened concert Rich managed to let us know that he was 
there to entertain and not tell us how to live.  He said find a 
church and read the Bible for that.  It was a mixed crowd, I think, 
with some there for the concert and some there 'cause they knew 
someone in the play.

When the play started I remembered that second row is not good play 
seats, so I shouldn't even be allowed to review the play.  I liked 
it; the messages in it (and there are many), the music, the story 
line.  It was, however, the kind of play that would take many 
performance to get the characters down well, especially St. Frank.  
It's hard to play a saint.  The students did an admirable job, God 
love them, but it didn't do full justice to the writing and the 
music.  And it was a long play, about 2 1/2 hours . . . undoubtedly a 
whole lot of work for the students to get this play ready!

For Rich Mullins fans it was a full night.  After the play Rich and 
Mitch played "Awesome God", "Creed" (Just Rich and Mitch sounded 
really fine on this punched-up version).  In honor of Wheaton 
teaching "theology and stuff" Rich played "Jesus Loves Me" on hammer 
dulcimer because that's what the Swiss theologian Karl Barth once 
stated as the sum total of theology - "Jesus loves me, this I know 
'cause the Bible tells me so."  And he closed with "Sometimes By 
Step" and all the cast members came out to sing with him.  They 
walked off stage and there was applause, but the houselights were 
turned on and there was no encore.

Personally, I wanted more concert although it was already 11:30.  
Rich had seemed amenable to continuing as he had earlier stated that 
this is about the time he usually gets warmed up.  It's almost as if 
I need to go to a Rich Mullins concert now 'cause this one was too 
short.  Anyone want to send me comp tickets to the Peoria concert??  
I think it's May 3.  I'm serious!  But I did get to hear the play, get the 
pre-release of Canticle of the Plains (and it is way fine!) see and 
hear Mitch, see Beaker and the family, and enjoy what there was of 
the concert.

I think it was difficult for Rich and Mitch to start a concert, quit, 
then finish up a couple hours later.  The crowd never seemed to get 
warmed up as a whole and that has gotta be hard on the performers.  But 
what I really want to know is what were Rich, Mitch and Beaker doing 
during the play??

Gina Blanchette

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*** Chris Smith's Wheaton review ***

From: Chris Smith
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 04:45:59 (EDT)
Subject: Rich Mullins' Concert/Canticle of the Plains: Wheaton College

Dear Danl,

I just recently attended the Rich Mullins premier The Canticle of the Plains a
t Wheaton College.  Here is my review:

Rich opened and closed the evening with concert.  Some of his most popular
songs were played including:  Awesome God, Creed, Let Mercy Lead, Step by
Sandwiched in between the concert was The Canticle of the Plains a musical
based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi  performed by students from
Wheaton College.

Over all it was an interesting evening.  Rich was excellent as usual, I could
listen to him play for hours.  However, The Canticle of the Plains was very
difficult to follow.  The sound system was poor making it even more difficult
to understand.  I had read once before that Rich could always tell a new
songwriter because everything the songwriter believed would be included in
one song.  As a new playwrite, I feel that Rich has done the same thing.  

I do not want to be critical because I have so much respect for Rich as a
songwriter.  I am confident that as time goes on, Rich will become as
brilliant at writing plays as he is at writing music.

Worthy of note:  My sister purchased the pre-released CD of Canticle of the
Plains and we have been listening to it ever since.  The music is wonderful
and I would recommend it to everyone.

Chris Smith
Chicago, IL

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*** Leta Blank's Wheaton review ***

Subject: Canticle of the Plains
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 22:33:20
From: Leta Blank

The Canticle of the Plains musical at Wheaton College was a very
beautiful play.  It was everything a play should be, full of romance,
humor, history, depth, and much more.  I think it portrayed St. Francis'
life very well into the 19th century at a level that we could grasp. It
portrays how God touches one persons life and how he touches others
through that one person.  

Frank giving up his wealthy life because he experienced God in a very
real way in the prairie on the way home from the war. He then spends
much time alone with God, wandering around, letting God love him and
teaching him how to love.  Then he meets Buzz's mom and she sees that
special love of God in him and knows that Buzz is to be his buddy. 
Frank and Buzz go off on a cattle drive together and go through Kansas
where Frank was from.  They visit with two of his childhood friends,
Clare and Ivory.  Ivory is a piano player in a saloon.  Clare sees God
in Frank, but Ivory is skeptical, but after talking with Frank, he
realizes he too wants to be free and experience God.  Clare likes Frank
but realizes she can't be with him right now because they really need
God first.  Ivory continues on with Frank and Buzz and people are
converted wherever they go.  Clare goes to Texas and does some nursing
and growing closer to God. Frank and the others meet up with a guy named
Lefty, (a gold miner) who comes to know God through Frank, Buzz, and
Ivory.  They decide to search for Dineh Bekeya, a place Frank and Ivory
dreamed up when they were kids, but Lefty says he knows that place and
it's real.  They get a message that Clare is going to meet them and they
send word for her to come to Dineh Bekeya.  Ivory says he wishes he had
a girl meeting him there and Lefty says there is a beautiful Indian
princess there.  Lefty gives his gold to Ivory for a dowry for the
princess.  They then join together with a band of Indians that have
soldiers after them. Ivory uses his gold to buy food, blankets, and
guns. But they don't need the guns because God causes the enemy to
destroy themselves.  Turns out the beautiful Indian princess was with
the band of Indians and is so touched by Ivory's generosity and while
talking to him they fall in love.  They all go on to Dineh Bekeya and
live happily ever after.  

Throughout the play are songs that are so beautiful and touching and
really help to deliver the story line.  I thought the performers did an
excellent job of portraying all that Rich, Mitch, and Beaker meant it to
be.  There were also other messages in the play about the four creatures
that surround the throne of God, how they represent the four gospels,
and how they represented four of the characters.  I could also see the
three personalities that created this play, Rich, Mitch, and Beaker in
different parts and in different characters throughout the play.  I
don't know if that was intentional or not but they did shine through. 

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