I really enjoyed the interview that CeCe Winans had with gospel saxophonist Angella Christie. Her testimony is very inspiring! She talked about being a rebellious child, being sent to a group home at the age of 12 and eventually coming to Christ.
CeCe Winans Interview with Angella Christie (aka the Shoeless Saxophonist)
From Answers.com: Angella Christie was born in Los Angeles, California, to missionary parents. Her mother bought her first saxophone for $300 at a pawnshop in Houston. “Secular music wasn’t allowed in our house,” Christie recalled to Clark. “I was not exposed to the Charlie Parkers, I didn’t even know who they were. I got all my improvisation from church.” She also learned from religious artists like Yolanda Adams, Douglas Miller, and the Clark Sisters, and listened to classical music and light jazz.
When she was 12, Christie lived in the Rebecca Home for Girls for one year. “It probably shaped me more in hindsight,” Christie told Contemporary Black Biography (CBB), “than it did at the time.” Each student worked at his or her own academic pace, and was required to study the Bible and memorize verses. The home had a guitar and piano, but no television, magazines, or anything that would connect the students to the secular world. By the time she had left the home, she had been given a sturdy foundation in Biblical scripture.
Although Christie originally wanted to be a rock star, her first live performance took place at a church with a saxophone. She didn’t want to perform, she recalled, but her parents insisted. She began to play “In Times Like These” and by the end of her performance, she knew she had accomplished something. After leaving the Rebecca Home, Christie attended the Houston High School of Performing and Visual Arts where she learned the names of the scales she had improvised upon in church. She played in a jazz and concert band, and was surrounded by good musicians.