"An Irish Christmas – A Celebration of Carols" concert tour with Keith and Kristyn Getty made its way to New York City's Carnegie Hall on Tuesday for its fifth annual holiday tour. The Christian Post caught up with Keith Getty to chat about the popular concert and his thoughts on the growth of Christianity.
The Gettys are world-renowned contemporary hymn writers whose songs, such as "In Christ Alone," are sung each year by more than 100 million people. Their annual Christmas tour has also become a part of their repertoire as a lively celebration of the birth of Christ is told through an evening of traditional holiday carols, contemporary hymns, Irish folk music, bluegrass, step dancing and more.
Keith says he and his wife decided to have a more community style worship experience with the concert this time as a way of coming together and healing from the high level of divisiveness this year. The first half of the concert is a celebration of carols with singing and dance, while the second half is a recreation of the traditional hymns set, topped off with a jam session.
"We created a thing called the Concert Hall Series this year, and we have 6 guest. They're all legends in the world of music and they're all believers but they all come from different fields," Keith told CP.
Some of the renowned guests on the tour include Grammy and Tony Award-winner Heather Headley, bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, Grammy-winning jazz artist John Patitucci, violinist David Kim and more.
The band that travels with The Gettys is also made up of seven different families who all have their own unique styles and add to the couple's talents.
"You have the pop gospel style couple, you've got a jazz one, you've got an Irish guy to a bluegrass guy, the global fusion guy, you got the classical music and then of course Kristyn and I are both hymn writers," he explained of all the unique musical cultures found in his band.
"The beautiful thing about Christmas is that the carols are classic melodies," he said, making them very enjoyable to everyone's palette and easy to sing along to.
Each year The Getty's "Joy of an Irish Christmas" reflect where they are musically.
"The very first year it was based on our hymns culture but it was the Christmas version of our hymns culture. The following year we released Hymns For The Christian Life, which was a marriage of bluegrass and Irish American influence. Last year, we went toward the message of carols and this year it's gone toward the message of carols with global music," the father and husband explained.
He added, "So each year as our interest shift, our music shifts and the Christmas show gets a 30 to 40 degrees twist [since] we always add maybe half of those new pieces."
Despite the change in their music style, Keith says that he and his family stay focus and steadfast on what they were called to do and are not moved by what's happening in culture.
"I don't really care where the tide is turning. I don't really listen to Christian music or Christian worship music. I think it is important to observe the world around us but I don't think Christian trends is necessarily the most helpful place," he advised.
He went on to say, "If you look at the world around us we see more people becoming Christians in the last hundred years than any point in history. Christianity is growing in 4.5 continents in the world. The Bible is in more languages – potentially every known language. The growth of Christianity in the last century and the cost in terms of martyrdom is greater than anybody could ever have imagined. The average Christian around the world is either 1st or 2nd generation Christian in four-and-a-half continents."
The Irish musician says in order for his young daughters and all the children in the world to survive and thrive and be influential, they need to go make believers around the world.
"Part of how we built up believers is the songs that we sing," Keith said of he and his wife's ministry. "We tend to find our role as hymn writers is to have a canon of songs that are deep and rich, that people can engaged in with their local churches. That's our life's work."
However, he pointed out that making an impact on other people's lives for the the Gospel's sake is produced by living a faithful life.
"Obviously that comes with lives that aren't hypocritical. So you are to get on your knees with your kids, your wife and yourselves and not blow smoke," he maintained.
Earlier in the year, Keith and Kristyn Getty teamed up with OMF International for a global music event that brought churches together from all over the world. Their version of the powerful hymn, "Facing a Task Unfinished," served as a worldwide anthem to raise awareness about Christian persecution worldwide.
The original song was written by China Inland Mission worker (now OMF International) Frank Houghton in 1931 as he reflected on the the Great Commission and the scripture Matthew 24:14, which encouraged him to dedicate his life to sharing the Gospel with people in China.
"It was incredible for me because I believe there was over a hundred countries involved in singing 'Facing a Task Unfinished.' It was just mind-blowing, it was an extraordinary response and it got the album out," he testified of the event.
The Gettys have donated all of the song's royalties to missionaries in China and said it's a really "exciting way" to give to the mission.
The Gettys are not finished with their life's work yet and are showing no sign of slowing down. In conclusion, Keith stated that The Gettys are gearing up to release another album in 2017, along with a book and will be holding a conference.
For more information on "An Irish Christmas – A Celebration of Carols," or for more information on the Gettys, visit www.gettymusic.com