The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
“March For Christ evolved out of the need of three young Christians to praise the Lord, in a very cloistered surrounding of a state run school. They have overcome many adversities in their efforts to share what being a Christian means to them and how it affects their lives. Despite the inconvenience of being blind, it has truly strengthened their witness for God.
The meshing of praise, music and personality shapes a delightful program. It is with great pride that this album is presented for your joy and blessing and they prayer for March For Christ is that it will bring real purpose to many lives.
Monte is 15 years old, a freshman and the first totally blind student at Roland-Story Community School in Story City, Iowa. He stands tall with respect from his fellow students and teachers.
Monte is lead male vocalist in March For Christ and the mellowing in their music. He plays the auto harp, bass guitar and the family of saxophones. Monte helps with arrangements and improvisions and has written two of the songs on this album, “Come On And Pray” and “Drop To Your Knees And Pray.”
Roxie is 19 years old and is from Muscatine, Iowa. He attends Central University of Iowa at Pella, where he is a freshman.
Roxie, the rhythm man for the group, plays all percussion and helps with improvisions. He is the master of ceremonies for their programs and the coordinator of their show. He presents the sermonettes and organizes their sound equipment. Roxie, on this album, is featured in the song, “Satan Has Been Paralyzed.”
Denise is 15 years old and from Treynor, Iowa. She attends the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, where she is a sophomore.
Denise is Miss Personality for the group, very bubbling and charming. She sings lead and harmony with the group, writes and re-writes some of their music and plays the electric piano, piano and clarinet. On this album, she is featured in a composition of her own, “Thanks For This Talent Of Mine.””
So, basically everyone who knows me and why I do this site knows that Denise Klahn is a HUGE part of why I started writing about records. Mainly being, I had seen some other websites that had been mocking one of her album covers and her disability, felt that there should be a site that puts a more positive light on her talent as opposed to one cover. At the time, I had only known of her albums “Singing for Salvation” and “Closer to the Savior” which are both tremendous albums. A little over a year or so ago, one of my good friends had found me a copy of this album, March for Christ, which indeed features Denise on it. It is the third, and yet, first release Denise Klahn did at 15 years old in 1980 while at the Iowa Braille School. I’ve chosen today, her birthday, March 28th to post this fantastic piece of music.
The album opens with the title track, “Come On and Pray“, written by another very talented student from the Iowa Braille School, Monte Ness. And the album opens with Denise on the electric piano and Monte playing the autoharp, and Monte is just an amazingly talented singer, this guy has talent. Denise supports him on backing vocals, and her vocals are pure magic. The piano playing superb, by the way. After that comes the song “Thank God, I’m What I Am Today” which is sung by Denise and has Monte on backing vocals, and Monte’s guitar playing is perfect and really accents Denise’s vocals. This song is absolutely amazing from start to finish. Then we go onto a song that was featured on Denise’s album “Closer to the Savior” – “Part the Waters” comes next, and it starts off with the same sound that it had on her latter album, but this time with Monte backing her on vocals, and then when we get to the chorus, Monte cheers “let’s go!” and the song picks up, and there is so many different orchestrations performed on this song, and it’s just fantastic. This group has to be one of the best gospel trios I’ve ever heard. Then comes the song “I Am His” which is written by Skeet Powers who was the music teacher at the Iowa Braille School and the person who is responsible for March for Christ. This song is fantastic, and Denise delivers this song beautifully, it’s so upbeat and well delivered. The A-Side closes with the song “Virgin Mary Had a Little Baby” – and it starts off a bit slowly, but the orchestration, vocals and musicianship is perfect. I cannot even begin to express how great this album is, it’s honestly the greatest. The song begins to pick up, and it becomes even more amazing. I honestly think this should be reissued, and available for everyone, even if you don’t like Gospel, the pop and rock sounds this group delivers is fantastic!
The B-Side opens with another song written by Monte, this one is titled “Drop to Your Knees and Pray” and it’s a song about people shouldn’t worship false idols, and it even has the line “He [Jesus] doesn’t look like Fonzerelli” – or “Doctor Welby” and even goes onto mention various wars. This song is perfect, it could do with more Denise vocals, but Monte is just as great. Next comes “Satan Has Been Paralyzed” which opens with Roxie Wakefield singing the opening lines, and though Roxie is only the drummer, his part stands out and makes for another amazing addition to this album. Denise and Monte then join in for the rest of the song. For those who know this track, they should know it is a very fun song, and these three have their fun in their own rendition of the song. After that comes the song “I Love You” which has a rather pleasing pop sound to it, and Denise is just a great leading vocalist on this track – as she is on all of her tracks, I cannot even begin to explain the amount of talent that Denise has. The song has a lot of fast parts, but also a great amount of slower parts too. “Joy in the Camp” comes next, and Monte opens this duet with Denise beautifully, these two are absolutely fantastic. I’m completely in love with the way their voices compliment each other and really wish that they had recorded more albums together, I’d buy them all! Denise returns with a track written by her, “Thanks for This Talent of Mine” and well, it’s a song thanking Jesus for her amazing singing talent, and well, rightfully so, she should be thankful because Denise was unbelievably talented. Everything about this track is stunning, Denise is just amazing. The album closes with a cover of Rick Springfield’s “Speak to the Sky” and well, would you ever expect Rick Springfield on a gospel album? Well, I’ll tell you one thing, it’s amazing. Monte is perfect singing this song, and Denise’s backing vocals are great. The musicianship supporting the vocals is great too. I love this album. It’s one of the greatest albums in my collection.
A1 – Come On and Pray
A2 – Thank God, I’m What I Am Today
A3 – Part the Waters
A4 – I Am His
A5 – Virgin Mary Had a Little Baby
B1 – Drop To Your Knees and Pray
B2 – Satan Has Been Paralyzed
B3 – I Love You
B4 – Joy in the Camp
B5 – Thanks for This Talent of Mine
B6 – Speak to the Sky
“Come On and Pray”
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Vocals, Autoharp, Bass Guitar & Saxophones – Monte Ness
Drums, Percussion & Vocals – Roxie Wakefield
Vocals, Electric Piano, Piano & Clarinet – Denise Klahn
Logo Design – Barbara Ness
Photography – PeteTekipee
Engineer & Musical Assistance – Bill Casolari
Other Albums I Own by March for Christ:
“I honestly think this should be reissued, and available for everyone, even if you don’t like Gospel, the pop and rock sounds this group delivers is fantastic!”
Have you considered starting a reissue label, so that all this rare gospel music you have and (usually) praise highly actually can be reissued and made available to everyone?
I’ve thought of it, but I don’t have the equipment to do so at the moment, and also, there is the issue of having the legal rights to the music to reissue it.