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Hale warms crowd with spirited music and performance

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
As the opening act of Friday night’s Expo concert, Prescott’s Rachel Hale brought her own special brand of sunshine, warmth, and Christian spirit to Hempstead Hall on an otherwise rainy, cold and dreary night as people were still entering the theatre from the ongoing Expo exhibits in the building.
Singing mostly original selections, Hale captured the hearts of the crowd, including several gatherings of local folks from Prescott and Hope, who came especially to see her.
Donned in black leather with a new wavy hair-style, it was still the same signature soulful voice that carried Hale to finalist status on American Idol that resonated with the crowd.
With her guitar, Hale opened her set with an acoustic version her American Idol classic, “Nothing But The Water,” and then a series of her original songs that included I Pray It Storms, Firm Foundation, and Promised Land, which will be released as a new single at the end of March.
Hale, then did a rendition of the famous Joe Cocker song, You Are So Beautiful, which she dedicated to the crowd and performed as a sing-along, before closing with another original song, If I Fall.
As she does during her shows, Hale also had her words of encouragement and Christian messages as lead-ins to her songs.
When she went into her single, Firm Foundation, Hale said, “God is a firm foundation, and I am a believer that God is our foundation.”
Before covering Cocker’s song, Hale said “Life’s too short not to enjoy it. It is beautiful to be home.”
Afterwards, Hale said, “I just love that song; it is one of those songs I just can’t get out of my heart right now. I just love some of those older songs. Songs like that have words that are positive and uplifting.”
“I like the idea of covering some of these old songs, and revisiting them, so that other people may feel hopeful about the world we in,” she said.
While her history in Prescott, and later graduating from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, and nationally at American Idol are better known, what is understated is that Hale studied at the prestigious Belmont University in Nashville, where she majored and graduated with a degree in songwriting.
“Yes, that is true,” Hale said speaking of her degree in songwriting, “Berkeley has one. I think USC or UCLA has one, and then, I want to say NYU has one, but there are only a few schools in the county that have one.”
With four of the six songs she performed being her own original songs, Hale told the crowd that songwriting is her way of processing the world around her.
After performing Friday night, Hale was already back on an airplane Saturday and headed back to northern California, but she did have the occasion to greet friends and well-wishers in the Hempstead Hall lobby after her show.
“It feels wonderful to be back home. I had the best time. It has been great to see my close friends and family, and its always great to be at Hempstead Hall,” she said afterwards.

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