Irish singer Alex Sharpe highlights Easter concerts in Ogden, Logan

Saturday , April 08, 2017 - 5:00 AM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

Celebrate Easter with a concert featuring a renowned Irish singer, a master storyteller, a local musical composer and pianist, and a fine-arts painter.

Irish singer Alexandra (Alex) Sharpe, an internationally acclaimed vocalist and former lead singer for the group Celtic Woman, will perform in two local Easter Spectacular Concerts. The concerts will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden, and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at the Logan Tabernacle, 50 N. Main St., Logan.

She will be joined by pianist and composer Jason Tonioli, of Hooper., and television personality Glenn Rawson. During the performances, special guest artist Kelly Donovan, of Corinne, will be painting a portrait of Jesus Christ to be given away to someone in attendance at the conclusion of the show.

Tonioli said of the 1.5 million Pandora song plays he gets each month, his hymn music is the most popular.

“I’ve always figured that if I were going to try and do a concert with my most popular music, it would need to be around Easter,” Tonioli said. “When the opportunity to do a concert this Easter came about, I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than to have an incredible vocalist like Alex who used to sing with Celtic Woman, mixed with Glenn Rawson who is one of the best story tellers I know.”

Tonioli’s hope is that people will leave the concert having felt a spirit about the music. He hopes those in the audience will leave having learned more appreciation Easter.

The concert will center around faith in Jesus Christ, Sharpe said. Her music and faith were influenced by her mother, a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was baptized in the 1970s, she said.

“She was a real pioneer in her family,” Sharpe said. “It was a big, big step for anyone to take at the time.”

Since that time, Sharpe said, Irish people and the Catholic Church have done some adjusting to various influences. She is the only Irish Mormon in the entertainment industry she knows of, she added.

“Music fans of the Irish singing group Celtic Woman will recognize the beautiful and talented Alex Sharpe,” according to a news release by Tonioli. “She was a member of the company from 2008-2010 and then again for a tour in 2015.”

Sharpe is known for many roles in London’s West End, similar to Broadway in the United States. Her roles include Cinderella, Maleficent in “Sleeping Beauty,” and Eponine in the U.K. tour of “Les Miserables.” Locally, she has been a guest artist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on “Music and the Spoken Word” and was featured in local concerts in 2015.

“We will talk about Irish folklore and history and how they tie into hope of the resurrection and the gospel,” Sharpe said. 

“Alex now shares her lyrical, crystal-clear voice in solo concerts and on CDs and YouTube,” said the news release. “Audiences enjoy her renditions of both Celtic and contemporary favorites. She also sings in the Celtic group CaraNua at corporate events and concerts with two other talented Irish performers, Edel Murphy and Lynn Hillary, who also shared the Celtic Woman stage.”

Rawson, known for his storytelling on KBYU’s “History of the Saints” and other projects, will join Sharpe on stage. “He has a special gift for sharing unforgettable tales and is sure to delight listeners with little-known stories that need to be shared,” said the news release.

Sharpe said Rawson will be telling stories related to the Easter theme.

Joining the two will be local composer, musical arranger and pianist Tonioli, who will provide background music for the storyteller. Sharpe said Tonioli also will be performing some of his sacred music.

“The goal is to present some of the sacred music people are familiar with that Jason has recorded,” Sharpe said. “He will play beautiful harmonies with a pure ethereal sound.”

“Jason is known for beautiful piano arrangements of hymns, as well as original compositions,” said the news release. “His piano sheet music and books are sold throughout the U.S. in music stores and on the internet. Jason has produced seven CDs and receives more than 1 million streams on Pandora radio per month.”

Those who attend will get a sneak peek at some soundtracks Tonioli and Sharpe are recording together this month.

“We have six or seven tracks ready to go,” Sharpe said. “We think it will be really beautiful.”

Tickets are $22 and $30, plus a $1.50 facility fee, and are available at Smithstix (http://smithstix.com), in person at the Peery’s Egyptian Box Office or by calling 801-689-8700.

You can reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.

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