Alex Matthews

The Imagine Party Featuring Elle King @ Anaheim Convention Center – 01/26/2019

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On Saturday January 26th, the NAMM Show was treated to a wonderful evening performance on the outdoor Grand Plaza Stage in front of the Anaheim Convention Center. The “Imagine Party” featuring Grammy nominated pop star Elle King was sponsored by The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. The bus is a mobile audio and video recording studio designed to empower youth through music and visual art, and it is set up in the plaza in front of NAMM each year. The concert was kicked off by a fun NAMM Best of Bass contest judged by none other than Spinal Tap Bassist Derek Smalls (portrayed by the wonderfully talented Harry Shearer) with the young winner of the contest receiving a signed bass from Smalls as well as tons of awesome musical gear.  

Next up was a truly moving musical moment as Paradise California’s Butte Strong United Choir took to the stage. Following the recent 2018 destructive fires in Paradise CA, students from five Butte County High Schools formed a choir to use the power of music to heal their community. The group’s leader, Paradise High School chorus director Sam Gronseth and half of his former students lost their homes in the fires. The group sang a special version of “You Will Be Found” from the Tony Award winning musical Dear Evan Hansen that left few dry eyes in the audience. Their beautiful vocals and inspired dance performance was a true highlight of this year’s NAMM show. The choir is made up of students from Achieve High School, Chico High School, Inspire School of Arts and Sciences, Paradise High School and Pleasant Valley High School.

The headliner for the evening was the aforementioned Elle King and her band The Brethren who played dozens of country, soul and R&B flavored originals and covers. King and her band are a top notch live touring group who didn’t seem intimidated in front of the large crowd of  musicians compromising the NAMM show audience. Despite a bum leg, King sang her heart out on songs like “Shame” “Naturally Pretty Girls” and her huge radio hit “Ex’s & Oh’s.”  

The night was a wonderful celebration of the power of music, and its ability to help people overcome trying times in their lives. Hats off to the organizers of this wonderful event for including the Butte Strong United Choir and giving them a wonderful platform to celebrate their talent and strength through music.

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