Violinist celebrates 25 years of musical evangelism

By Casey Phillips Article posted on Thu. Nov. 22nd, 2012
Jaime Jorge
Jaime Jorge
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
IF YOU GO

* What: Jaime Jorge concert featuring special guests Michael Card, Kirk Whalum, Larnelle Harris, Sam Ocampo, John Stoddart and Jennifer LaMountain

* When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.

* Where: Collegedale Community Church, 4995 Swinyar Drive, Collegedale.

* Admission: $16.50.

* Phone: 238-7944.

* Website: www.JaimeJorge.com

THE VIPS

* Michael Card is a Dove Award-winning Christian singer/songwriter, author and radio host from Franklin, Tenn. Since 1981, he has penned 19 No. 1 hits, including "El Shaddai," which made the Recording Industry Association of America's 365 Songs of the Century list. His albums have sold more than 4 million copies.

* Kirk Whalum is a Grammy-winning smooth-jazz saxophonist who was a long-standing opening act for Whitney Houston. He performed a solo on Houston's hit single "I Will Always Love You." He has been a session musician for artists such as Barbra Streisand, Al Jarreau and Luther Vandross. He also is a Dove Award and NAACP Image Award nominee.

* Larnelle Harris is a gospel singer/songwriter from Kentucky. In 30 years, he has won five Grammies, 11 Dove Awards and has seen 19 of his songs become No. 1 radio singles. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Even for a missionary, traveling 200,000 miles a year to spread the word of God is a lot to ask. Yet violinist Jaime Jorge is pleased to cover that distance and more on his quest to share his faith with an international audience at more than 200 concerts annually.

This Sunday at the Collegedale Community Church, Jorge, 42, will celebrate his 25-year performing career with an anniversary concert featuring a trio of heavy-hitting gospel artists.

Jorge will be joined by special guests Michael Card, Kirk Whalum and Larnelle Harris, who collectively have earned more than a dozen Grammies, Dove Awards and other honors.

He also will be joined by his sister and mother, a choir, backing band and an orchestra. The plan, Jorge said, is to record the performance for a live DVD.

"I wanted to have people who I either know or have worked with or who I appreciate and admire very much," he said.

In his quarter-century on the road, Jorge has brought inspirational music and personal testimony to audiences in 42 countries, from Russia and Norway to Brazil and Hong Kong.

Originally from Cuba, his family requested permission to relocate to the United States on religious grounds in 1980.

In his late teens, Jorge said, he discovered the power of music to move people and dedicated himself to performing. Halfway through his studies in medical school, he felt unsatisfied with the direction his life was headed and prayed for guidance. God pointed him to the stage, said Jorge, who has lived in Ooltewah for the last decade.

"I got a sign, a very clear sign," he said. "I've never looked back or had second thoughts or regrets. I know that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing."

In addition to his renditions of secular and religious selections, Jorge threads in the story of his road to spiritual enlightenment and the power of faith to impart hope.

Music and belief, he said, are comfortable bedfellows. "Music is spiritual," he said. "I think they're very much intertwined. There is a connection, because I think that music is a language of the heart."

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.

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