Michael Bolton has gone from Dancing with the Stars to singing for the saints.
“I feel humbled here,” Bolton said after recording the traditional Christmas concert in the frescoed basilica of St Francis of Assisi with Israeli singer Noa and New York conductor Steven Mercurio. “I feel humbled to be reminded of the teachings of St Francis, which I was introduced to at a very young age. I don’t know anyone who is not moved by his story,” he said. (Photo: Chelsie Hightower and Michael Bolton after the premiere of “Dancing with the Stars Season 11″ in Los Angeles September 20, 2010/Fred Prouser)
With Giotto’s awe-inspiring frescoes of the scenes in the life of St. Francis on both sides of him, Bolton sang “The Prayer,” “O Holy Night,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for the concert that will be broadcast on Eurovision on Dec 25.
The Umbrian hill town where St Francis lived 800 years ago is a long way from New Haven, Connecticut, where Bolton was born into a family of Russian Jewish immigrants 57 years ago. “There is something special about this place. I have performed in churches and cathedrals and holy sites but there is something about being in the presence of everything that has been inspired by St Francis,” he said.
“When you’re doing Christian songs … there is a very different focus that you have to deliver. As a singer it is one of the very few times that you have to get out of the way. You have to hit the notes, but become a servant and it reminds you that St Francis was all about service to humanity.” (Photo: Michael Bolton sings in the frescoed basilica of St Francis of Assisi in Italy, December 19, 2010/stringer)