Kristina Bubar Story
The dead are rising in Phoenix,
Arizona. No, the Lord hasn't returned yet and you haven't missed the rapture,
but old hymns are being revived and given a contemporary feel by singer
Kristina Bubar, her husband Joe and producer extraordinaire Billy Smiley
Kristina Bubar is a world
class opera star and former winner of an Arizoni, an award that parallels
the Tony Awards at the state level. “I had won it (the Arizoni) for the
best actress in Amahl and the Night Visitors, an operetta by Monetti.”
The very petite and talented Bubar was cast in the role of Amahl, a 12-year-old
boy. She also is well known for her role as Cupid in a Connecticut opera
However, this is not a story
about Bubar’s opera career but rather the recounting of how this talented
young lady made the decision to turn her attention to the Christian music
scene with the same passion that has made her successful in opera and classical
Bubar, who makes her home
in Phoenix, Arizona, was first spotted by Smiley six years ago while she
was leading worship at Scottsdale Bible Church where her husband serves
as music pastor. Smiley quizzed her on her music endeavors and sowed the
seeds for what would eventually become Bubar’s ambitious project of creating
two CDs in her debut year tackling a different genre.Bare My Soul
was released in December 2004 and hymns the Old Made New was released
in January of this year.
In speaking about the adjustments
to her music career Bubar says, “When you are in opera, you are in character
but when you are an artist, you are yourself and you are in a much more
vulnerable position. You are laying your soul out there and there is more
intimacy with the music and the audience.”
A lot of the credit for
the success of this album goes to her producer, says Bubar. She had to
learn different vocal techniques. “What was really neat about it is he
brought out a different voice I never knew I had. It’s cool to discover
it and then hone it.” She says Smiley provided the kind of guidance and
direction that she needed. “He spent a lot of time and energy in developing
me as an artist.”
For the most part, the CDs
were recorded at the Bennett House and Steve Brewster’s studio. Joe Bubar
did the programming and sequencing. The CD Bare My Soul
is an elegant album with dreamy, relaxing music that at times reflects
Enya or Peter Gabriel. To put a label on Kristina Bubar’s music, however,
would be limiting. Her music and these two projects are quite different
than anything likely to be heard in 2005.
Christian music circles
have concentrated so heavily in the past decade on making sure youth understand
that Christian artists can rock, hip hop and rap with the best of them
that for the most part, the more refined genres of music have been abandoned.
Kristina Bubar helps listeners rediscover the beauty of a well-trained
voice and instruments such as the pan flute and classical guitar.
Despite the comparisons
to Enya, Gabriel and Michelle Tumes as I listen to her Bubar’s music
I am more reminded of another talented opera singer who often crosses over
into other genresSarah Brightman.
Smiley believes that Bubar
has just begun to tap her potential and some incredible musical moments
still lay ahead. “When someone hears her sing they will say, ‘that’s Kristina
singingthe one that makes you stop and listen a little closer, the
one with the fragile yet beautiful smile in her voice, a voice that draws
you into her world and out of yours.”
Bubar has also discovered
a ministry to women through her new musical direction. Several of the hymns
that were modernized were originally penned by women. The incredible stories
of faith of people like lyricist Anne Steele, and Charlotte Elliot have
inspired Bubar to share these women’s stories with her audiences.
The first time I spoke to
Bubar, she had recently heard a Mother’s Day sermon that in her words,
“Confirmed the value of motherhood and (reminded me) how it has been devalued.”
She says, “I’m called to wifehood and motherhood but I also know that God
has called me to music ministry because he has given me a gift and a talent.”
Bubar says despite her love for music, “If all this came crashing down
tomorrow, as long as my family is intact that is all that matters to me.
Her music is: “A calling that is secondary to the calling of my marriage
and my children.”
The Bubars have established
a lifestyle that weaves together their music ministries, everyday lives,
children (2 ½ and 1 ½) and spiritual growth. Whenever Kristina
sings or practices, the children are present. She and Joe hope as the children
grow older they will come to understand that the four of them are a team.
On June 24, Kristina Bubar
will be releasing her second single, “Come to Me,” to radio in the United
States and Canada. Her first single, “You Alone,” received widespread radio
play on the Fish and Salem Networks and charted in the top forty. When
“Spirit Divine” is eventually released to radio it will be a chart stopper.
Smiley describes it as an old hymn with a pop tune and at times reminiscent
Samples of Kristina Bubar’s
music can be heard at http://www.kristinamusic.com
By Joe Montague, exclusive
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory
of his late son Kent David >Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18.
All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.