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Philip Fortenberry: “At the River”

Inspirational Song of the Week: Monday – Sunday, August 28 – September 3, 2017

“At the River”


 “Fifth Sunday”

Performed by Philip Fortenberry

“I grew up in rural Mississippi in a tiny community called Edna. When I was in the second grade at Hub School, our pastor moved away. Because I knew and could play all the songs we ever sang, I suddenly became the church pianist. There was a tradition among small country churches where each one would host an all-music service whenever there was a fifth Sunday in a month.

Many years later, a friend’s mother was doing hospice care work in Nashville. She wanted a new copy of a cassette tape of some old hymns I had made years earlier, to share with some of the patients she was caring for. My reason and my inspiration for the collection, which ultimately became Fifth Sunday, was that the music might offer some Divine peace, comfort, and love to anyone in transition through the sounds of these sacred melodies.”

Philip Fortenberry

As a versatile artist whose styles encompass a wide range of musical genres, Philip Fortenberry is a performer with an equally expansive career. A native of Columbia, Mississippi, Philip began playing the piano at the age of four and by seven was the accompanist for his church. He continued his piano studies as a private student of Myoko Lotto at The Juilliard School.

Philip has played for many Broadway productions and national tours including such shows as Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Lion King. He has also toured the U.S. and Canada in concert performances of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Philip made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1986 as the pianist/conductor for Eartha Kitt. In 1990, Philip and internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade at the Oregon Bach were invited to perform at the White House for the summit conference between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush.

Currently a resident of Las Vegas, Philip is the associate conductor/music director for Jersey Boys at the Palazzo and is also a pianist for Faith Community Lutheran Church. As the featured artist at the Liberace Museum, Philip performs a one-man show, Liberace and Me.

“This man speaks to the core of what music really is.” — D. Hollingsworth, Las Vegas, NV

“Fortenberry literally played the audience. Gazing at us with slow absorption, he created an improvised “musical group portrait” on the spot. And we sounded gorgeous.” — Joe Brown, Las Vegas Sun

“Phil graces our Church Sanctuary every Sunday morning with his piano playing. He is truly inspirational with his talent and his energy on the keyboards. He truly can move an entire congregation through his spiritual gift of music. I have ordered The Woods, and I know that it will be a 5 Star Musical Production.” — L. Lee, Las Vegas, NV

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