Saturday, September 22, 2012
Famed Musician Phil Kristianson Remembered
By Aubrey Beauchamp R.N.
Special to ASSIST News Service
CAPISTRANO BEACH, CA (ANS) -- Several years ago, our pastor announced that the famed Promise Keepers Worship Band was having a rehearsal in a nearby church. It was open to the public. Excited, I found the address and stepped into the sanctuary. To my surprise, I was the only one to show up.
Shortly after that day, Phil became part of the worship team at my church and, although still quiet, my respect and admiration for his extraordinary talent at the keyboard, grew over the years. Raised in Wisconsin, I learned, Phil gave his first piano recital at age six. He studied classical piano for 20 years and placed first in most of the recitals he entered including the Van Cliburn competition. While at Evangel College in Springfield, MO Phil took piano and organ and worked at Gospel Publishing House.
Later, Phil began touring, recording and writing songs with The Archers. He also worked in Hong Kong for ACM Chinese Christian Outreach and the “I Choose Life” TV show with Joe Bias and the TBN network. The Chrystal Cathedral hired him for both the Youth and Music department an in 1982 he helped establish Rancho Capistrano Community Church as their music director.
Phil went on to produce, arrange and record for the Praise Hymns Soundtracks and various artists with Word Publishing/TheBenson Company. He played for and arranged music for “The Christ Church Choir” and was the Music Director for the first music tour from the Western World after the fall of the iron curtain in the Ukraine. He was Music Director for Gospel Choir Festivals in Japan, the Oslo Gospel Choir, Young Continentals and voices and band in “Faith is Why” tour in 2010.
Recently, Phil was an Artist in Residence in Seattle Pacific University in the Worship Arts Division, producing two recordings, forming “The Kingdom” and “The Gospel” series.
Phil was a par excellence producer, arranger, songwriter and keyboard artist. He has recorded and toured with various Christian artist - besides The Archers - such as Andrae Crouch, Jessie Dixon, Greg X Volz, Amy Grant, Kenny Marks, the Judd’s, and more. Phil also worked extensively with both Billy and Franklin Graham in their national and international Crusades. He directed the worship team for Promise Keepers men’s events as well as being the Music Director for Maranatha! Music for over 12 years.
Phil performed as pianist and organist in a Johannes/Newby oratorio entitled “Montage for Martin” in Seattle in 2005 with the late Yolanda King as narrator and worked as musical director for the television program, “Morris Cerullo Helpline” in Southern California. He and his wife, Kristin, moved to Kirkland, WA in September 2011 to become the Director of Music and Worship Arts Administrator for Antioch Bible Church.
When Phil left our church to move to Seattle, we sorely missed him. Shortly after his move, news reached us that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A benefit concert was arranged for him in January. Phil, now gaunt and almost bald, insisted on coming and work his keyboard magic, as notable artists from all over the country paid tribute to him. It was an unforgettable night with standing room only.
On September 6, 2012, Phil lost his battle with cancer. At his Memorial Service, the bulletin read: Phil Kristianson, “A Life Well Lived”. Indeed, it was and if there are pianos in heaven, Phil will be playing praise music to his Savior.
Memorial donations can be sent to www.philthelove.com
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