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By Ben Pearson, exclusive rights reserved
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 (Whiteheart).
 
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 production.
 
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 music.
 

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 of Sade.
 
Samples of Kristina Bubar’s music can be heard at http://www.kristinamusic.com

 By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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