Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meeting William Joseph (and Giveaway!)



Disclaimer: Please to forgive the grainy photos. I was in the back. With my iphone. I'm sad about it, too.


When I was invited with one other blogger to attend a last minute invitation-only in-house concert in my home city, I had no idea what I was in for. I didn't know what to expect from the evening; so I grabbed my good friend and fellow music lover Mikelle and a green smoothie and headed into the rainy evening. Embarrassingly, I thought - sure! I'm always up for helping to support and promote local talent.

I learned very quickly that the performers I enjoyed last night didn't need any kind of promoting, and those of us lucky enough to attend last night's performance basked in a constant wash of talent so fine that when William Joseph made his final bow and thank-you and the applause finally died down, we all stood and reeled and staggered about with wide eyes, whispering, "wow".

William Joseph owns the piano. He was charismatic and good looking (amiright?) and told engaging stories and was a warm and delightful performer - but when he sat down at the piano (and all I could see was his mess of dark hair swaying and bobbing above the audience's heads from where I was sitting in the back) it was something else entirely. We were all transported to his head-place by the music he created - sometimes spontaneously! - and it was a wonderful, wonderful ride.

Just so you know - William was discovered by David Foster (responsible for discovering talents like Celine Dion, Michael Buble' and Josh Groban) when he asked if he could play David's piano at an event, and David said, "Sure, play something." He sat down to play an original composition, and Foster started leading, bringing in other musicians until William had an orchestra fleshing out his sound. After a standing ovation, Foster said, "Are you coming tonight?" But the $800/plate event was a bit steep for newlywed William Joseph. Foster said, "Nonsense. You're coming tonight, and you're the opening act."

Next thing he knew, William was touring with Josh Groban. And the rest is history.

But, like, a really really musically gifted history.

When he played A Mother's Heart, he dedicated it to all the mothers in the room. He said he had so much respect for mothers and the unseen work we do every day.

"I was sitting right next to Dick Chaney, and I was like, please don't talk to me!"

He got so animated talking about his latest project, Be Still. He said he had been wanting to do an album of Hymns for forever! He said his favorite hymn is Come Thou Fount. The simplicity of the melody makes his soul ache. I loved that. And when he was finished playing it, I may have seen him make a quick brush at his eye with his sleeve.

He told the story of a time when he was 14 and asked to play for a wedding. In a mall. He got distracted while playing the wedding march and ended up playing...

video

William played (and bantered) with his friend and fellow musician Aaron Ashton. Aaron played the violin - so you know I felt an affinity - and the two of them completely filled that room with their two instruments. Mikelle leaned over and whispered, "there can't be just one piano and one violin."

Aaron Ashton breaking out into some Irish fiddling

William and Aaron were delightful. The venue perfect (thank you, Dyer family, for opening your home to us for the evening! You have very talented daughters!).

"The Stage" at the Dyer home

I felt very small next to such talent, but screwed up my courage and thought of Jenny (who meets incredible talent and does this sort of thing all the time, it seems!) and asked for a picture with William and Aaron.

Mikelle, the talented William Joseph, & Me - I'm always so surprised by how round my face is.

Just a couple of violinists! But just one that's, you know, nationally recognized.

They were delightful in person - and William may have invited us to the release party a few weeks from now. Details pending.

If you're feeling sad that you missed this - don't despair. I have a signed copy of Wiliam Joseph's latest CD to give to one of my readers! I know, right?


I've been listening to my own copy, and it's wonderful.

To enter:

Leave me a comment telling me why you'd like to win.
Extra entries for tweets and blog mentions (please mention these in a separate comment)

Giveaway will close Sunday, midnight. Winner announced Monday.

Like always, I hope you ALL win!

26 comments:

Stephanie said...

I'd better be allowed to enter the contest, right? :) So glad you loved it.

amber said...

I've been hearing great things about him all over the internet. I would love to have some beautiful music to play on Sunday mornings!

Diana Larson said...

OK. . . I was trying to think of something super creative so I would win but that part of my brain is not working this morning. All I know is I NEED this CD to play while I am quilting. If I don't win, I will have to buy it. So be it. You are one lucky girl to have such a magical evening. Love and miss you all. Diana

Kristen said...

Oooh, that sounds like a great CD to have - I'm super curious about this guy now! How lucky are you girl!!

Lara said...

You are one lucky girl! I discovered William Joseph a couple years ago and absolutely LOVE his music. I was so excited when I heard he was coming out with a Hymns CD. I almost bought it the other day, but now maybe I can win it!!!

Kestrel said...

Don't enter me in the contest because I won that thingy too. I just wanted to say that we must have sat really close because your pictures look like mine hehehe. We were in the back and I had my 4 year old so we left a little early ... right after the amazing rap.

My favorite part was the "Melissa" impromptu and when Aaron got up and started playing too! That was insane. I can't believe how funny William Joseph is. He was awesome. And sheesh, can I be adopted into the Dyer family? I am just barely learning the violin and let's just say I gave up practicing for a few weeks but after last night IT IS ON.

Kestrel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lara said...

I posted about your giveaway on Facebook!

Lara said...

I also posted about it on my blog http://laraseaver.blogspot.com/

I really want this CD!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I met William Joseph 2,5 years ago in Kansas City, KS. We had a 4 hour drive to that concert and i actually had already over 10 000 of miles behind me - because i came all the way from Germany! Didn´t know anything about WJ but my friend introduced me to him and i was blown away by his talent! I am a pianist myself and he played/s the way I want to play one day:-) One of the best if not THE best i´ve seen and heard playing!

Haley Wright said...

I was standing right in front of you before you met William, and I'm also in one of your pictures! :) Such a wonderful evening! You described it perfectly as well. Loved it!

Ali Marie said...

Pick me! I am always looking for inspirational music to play at home, in the car and while I work (for some reason the massages are just better when paired with great music) please oh please magic excel Chooser pick me!

Windy Dawn said...

Oh, I love love William Joseph! I need his new CD because, well, I don't have it yet!!

When I saw him open for Josh Groban my friend Beth was with me, she's from Phoenix, and it turns out she knows him. She kept saying, 'William Joseph!? He used to go by Bill Schwartz!'

Windy Dawn said...

PS, repost your post on fb too.

Joanna said...

Wow! It sounds like you had a wonderful time. I love listening to William Joseph play. I've never had the pleasure to experience a live performance by him, but the new CD would bring me closer. I've heard his Come Thou Fount, which is beautiful, and I'd love to hear the rest of the CD.

Anonymous said...

Hi I first heard of William Joseph when David Foster was on The View and he introduced him from the audience. The second time I saw him when he was the opening act for Il Divo and then I heard him again in at a concert that he headlined. He is an amazingly talented pianist. His new CD sounds fantastic and I promise to listen to it at least 100 times.

Grace said...

So glad you could come last night! It was a great concert. It would never work without a wonderful audience, so I am grateful to all who attend.

missionmom7 said...

When I learned that William was going to be the opening act for Josh Groban...I think about 8 yrs ago, I KNEW HE was the answer to my prayers for another person. He has owned a piece of my heart ever since. I want another copy to share with friends and family.

Katha Petroelje said...

I've adored William Joseph's music ever since one of my students, Sigi, introduced me to it. I played "A Mother's Heart" for worship last Mother's Day and so many people were touched and asked where the music had come from. I proudly told them and told them where to find his music. I am part of a 4 piano group (4-pianos.com) and would love to talk to William about arranging something for 4 pianos!

Vinnie Rabon said...

My daughter and I had the opportunity to see and hear William Joseph in Charlotte, N. C. and we were in awe. After the performance he took the time to talk with his audience on an individual basis and he made us feel so appreciated that we had been there. I feel he is such an excellent role model for our youth and am so proud to see him visit in the schools and share his talent and personality with them. My daughter married a little over a year ago and she used "A Mother's Heart as part of her ceremony. William Joseph is indeed a gifted person and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have heard him play and talk with him. Thank you so much. V. Rabon, Charlotte, N. C.

Krysta said...

I love William Joseph. He is an awesome guy. I just know when his songs are played on the radio or come up on my mp3 player because he has a disticnt sound. And I always feel happy when I hear his music. I hope someday I can meet him. :)

- Krysta
krystahiggins(at)gmail(dot)com

Unknown said...

I NEED this {beautiful} cd by this {beautiful} man because I need to "Be Still"... Is William single?! ;) I love that you recently got to experience such inspiring music live. I'm actually a little envious, but very happy for you. I'm listening to the "Be Still" demos on iTunes now. Definitely puts my heart & soul at peace during the dark of the night. Love your blog, as always, Stepper. Oh, and that "round" face of yours is simply stunning. *No, I'm not kissing up to WIN*

Unknown said...

Dangit, I'm obviously 100% inept when commenting on blogs. I never do it right?! FYI: that "Unknown" person is Molly Cahoon. ;)

Molly said...

Ok, did that work (with my name)?! Third time's the charm? :) Love you, Stepper. Love William Joseph, too. ;)

~j. said...

Yaaaaaaaaay! Good for you. Glad it was such an awesome experience!

Anonymous said...

I know I am super late but I have just been watching many of Williams videos he has on youtube and I am BLOWN away! You have to check it out!!!