NI hymn-writing couple perform for US Vice-President Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Second Lady Karen Pence, pictured with Keith and Kristyn Getty in Washington
Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Second Lady Karen Pence, pictured with Keith and Kristyn Getty in Washington

Accomplished hymn writers from Northern Ireland, Keith and Kristyn Getty, performed for the US Vice President Mike Pence in Washington this week.

Keith, from Lisburn, and Kristyn, from Newtownabbey, met in Belfast when they began songwriting together before marrying in 2004.

Their time is now spent between Nashville in the USA and Northern Ireland with their three young daughters.

The modern hymn-writing duo performed for Mr Pence and his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, as well as their guests, at a holiday reception at the vice president’s residence in Washington this week.

Vice President Pence, whose grandfather Richard Michael Cawley, emigrated to the USA in the 1920s, is an evangelical Christian and a strong proponent of traditional Christian values.

The Gettys have written a catalogue of songs including 60 of the most popular hymns currently sung in the US and UK.

The best-known of these, titled ‘In Christ Alone’, was co-written by Keith Getty with Stuart Townend, and is estimated as the number one most popular hymn sung in the UK for the past nine years.

Keith and Kristyn Getty met the vice president and his wife at the John F Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, where they were appearing at a sold-out performance of their ‘Sing! An Irish Christmas’.

The Gettys are playing 15 cities with Sing! including Carnegie Hall in New York.

Sing! An Irish Christmas caps a memorable 2017 for the Gettys.

In June, Keith was honoured with an OBE, for his contribution to ‘music and modern hymn writing’, the first occasion that the award has been given to an individual involved in the world of contemporary church music.

Sing! An Irish Christmas is designed in in two parts.

The first half is presented as if the listener were attending a village square gathering featuring carols and other seasonal vocal, instrumental and dance folk music to celebrate this time of year.

The second half invites the audience to follow the Christmas story through four readings from the Book of Luke – the Benedictus of the high priest Zechariah, Mary’s Magnificat, the Angel’s Gloria in Excelsis Deo and Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis.

The Gettys will perform at the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall in Nashville on Saturday.