Magnify: An Interview with Luke Garrett

By Roxanne Nanney

On June 7, Highview Baptist Church had the 5 opportunity to host the premiere performance of a new trio formed by Luke Garrett and Mike and Faye Speck. The trio idea began at an evangelism conference held at Highview last year. The congregation is quite familiar with these voices as individuals, but the people really enjoyed this new combination. Luke Garrett, well known for hits "Magnify," "Arise" and "Then Came the Morning," has recorded four albums with Home Sweet Home Records and lives in Jackson, Mississippi. Mike and Faye Speck are music evangelists from Owassa, Oklahoma. After the concert, Roxanne Nanney, Associate Minister of Music at Highview, sat down with Luke Garrett to talk with him about his ministry.

How long have you been singing professionally?

Full-time, for seven years, since June of 1985, when I left first Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas.

What did you do at first, Dallas?

I was Music Associate, directing youth choirs and ensembles . . . and we had a music publishing company called Criswell Music Press. It was a great experience and that's really where all the doors started to open.

We began a concert series in September 1984. Prior to the concert by the artist, there was a twenty-minute concert by someone just beginning. I was that "slot" for the first concert. Pat Boone was the host for the monthly series. He began writing letters to me after that concert and he was very encouraging. He contacted Chris Christian, in Los Angeles at the time and introduced us. So, that's how I met Chris Christian. I had been singing for some churches in the area, but this was a major step for me. I could never have done that on my own. When 1 look back, I see how God really orchestrated the meeting with Chris in April 1985. I signed with Home Sweet Home Recon at June I985.

What is your latest album?

Praise the Lord. It' s actually a choral work with Bethesda Community Choir in Fort Worth. Dan Smith is their director. There are twelve songs, solo with choir backup. It's really added a new dimension to my ministry, because not only do I sing by myself, but I can also involve a choir. I have recently signed with Impact Records for a one-record contract.

Do you already know what you're doing with the album?

I have two songs that I want to do, but we're still looking for songs. I want to write three or four and that takes time. I have to like my stuff a whole lot, I'm a really tough editor. The songs that I do like, I'm proud of Like on "Magnify," I just knew immediately. Some songs are slow, some are easy."Magnify" took a day,' "Supply My Need" took two months.

Do you have classical music training?

Actually, I was a pianist before I was a singer. I played for voice lessons at UCLA, so I picked up a lot of vocal things from those lessons. I also had excellent choral training. Taking piano as a child has really helped me get where I am today. I don't have to search for pianists when 1 practice or write.

If you could choose one song that characterizes your ministry?

That's a tough one. I guess if there is any song that kind of embodies me musically and is really me, then I would have to come back to "Magnify." There are two reasons. One thing, especially in a concert, it sets the mood for worship and invites people to be a part of it. Secondly, for me vocally, I kind of threw everything in th|ere that I do: the sustained notes, the quiet middle section, the little "classical thing," and coming back to the bigger ending. Another one that I feel really close to is "As If I Were the Only One to Love" from Ever Constant, Ever Sure; I guess I' ll be singing that one until I'm 88.It's a very quiet song, but that's really the way God speaks to us many times . . . not with thunderbolts, but in a quiet voice.