Melody Makers

Amy Grant opens new Fruit Yard Ampitheater
By VIRGINIA STILL

The Traina family is no stranger to bringing entertainment to the Central Valley, hosting a variety of concerts at the Fruit Yard in Modesto over the years. However, they have stepped it up a notch and created a new amphitheater that can seat approximately 3,500 people. Gracing the stage for the grand opening celebration is singer-songwriter, author, host, speaker, and Grammy Award winner Amy Grant at 7 p.m. on Aug. 24.

“The owner always had the vision and decided to take it to the next level with the idea to create a beautiful outdoor venue for the community to have,” said Chad Smith, Fruit Yard General Manager. “We wanted to kick off the amphitheater with a respectable artist and act. Amy Grant is a well-respected contemporary Christian artist with six Grammys to her name and we felt she was an obvious choice. We have always done donations and fundraisers for the local community and some of the proceeds from this event will be going to the Modesto Gospel Mission.”

With over 30 years in the business, Grant has sold over 30 million albums worldwide with songs that have hit the top of the pop charts, adult contemporary charts, and multiple contemporary Christian chart toppers like “Baby Baby,” “El Shaddai,” “I Will Remember You,” Breath of Heaven,” and “Father’s Eyes.”

Music has always been a part of her life, from listening to records with her older sisters to singing at church every Sunday. Although there are many artists that have made an impression on her over the years, Grant said the two artists that stood out were Carole King and Joni Mitchell, both noted as having a huge influence on her music and career.

“I don’t remember a specific moment that I knew I would make a career out of music, but I always knew I wanted to create something beautiful, and I’ve been fortunate to do that through word and melody for most of my life,” stated Grant. “My favorite part of my work is the opportunity to bring people together. Whether it’s through music, performing, writing, speaking, or hosting an event, I love welcoming everyone to the moment.”

In 2005, Grant began hosting an NBC Prime Time series “Three Wishes” where she met people and heard stories that inspired her music and motivated her to write a book called “Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far.” She is a keynote and inspirational speaker as well, sharing her stories with people all over the country.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the song “Baby Baby” and the Heart in Motion album, Grant collaborated with pop artist Tori Kelly for a remake of the pop hit a couple years ago.

“Tori is one of the most gifted vocalists on the planet,” added Grant. “It was so much fun to hear her fresh take on a song I’ve sung so many times over the course of my career, and a memorable way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the song and Heart in Motion.”

She has an annual Christmas residency with her husband, country singer Vince Gill at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

“It probably goes without saying that my favorite artist to work with is my sweet husband, Vince,” said Grant. “Christmas is my favorite time of the year. There’s nothing sweeter than sharing that stage with my husband night after night, making Christmas memories with our family and so many dear friends in the audience.”

Bringing her pop hits, faith-based songs, and just overall feel-good jams to the Fruit Yard, Grant and her band wants audiences in the 209 to prepare for a ton of fun. Christian artist Tim Timmons will open the show on that Friday night in August.

“We live in a world where people are constantly at odds with each other, and the creative arts offer us a unique way to find common ground and celebrate the things we all have in common,” explained Grant. “I’m excited to be the first artist playing at the new Fruit Yard amphitheater and looking forward to a great night of music in Modesto.”

The new amphitheater will be host to a wide variety of entertainment for audiences including comedy shows, ballet, as well as some fundraiser events, according to Smith.

Guests are allowed to bring in low beach chairs and blankets for general admission in the lawn area and there is onsite parking for a small fee.

Tickets are available through the website www.thefruityardevents.com or ticketmaster.com. For more information call 209-577-3969.

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