David Osborne and Reed Elliotte Perform at Maranatha Baptist Church
Published 2:29 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Pecan trees surrounded the small brick church, nuts crunching under tires. The interior of the building had green walls, stained glass windows, and a white ceiling and rafters, looking like countless churches scattered across the countryside.
The Mayor of Plains, LE Godwin, spoke briefly. Jason Matthew Moon, a political aide to U.S. Senator Max Cleland, introduced David Osborne. Osborne wore a suit and black bowtie.
He played Great is They Faithfulness as well as Imagine by John Lennon.
“As you can see, I brought my 9’ Steinway,” Osborne joked, referring to the keyboard.
Reed Elliotte made an entrance from the back of the church, singing the hymn Satisfy and wearing a matching suit and black bowtie.
Osborne recounted meeting President Carter at a book signing in Orlando, leading to his connection with Plains.
Several members of the audience took pictures and video while he performed. Someone from the audience asked him to move a paper that was lying on his piano, which he set aside.
“It just has my notes about what I’m doing.”
Osborne also performed Amazing Grace, recounting a story from when he started out practicing on a church piano.
He was playing a song in the empty church. When he finished, he heard a voice asking him for a request. Osborne recounted fleeing the church, finding out it was a homeless man. He mentioned returning the next night and striking up an acquaintance over his knowledge of music.
Osborne then recounted another story about how he had told Carter that a mutual friend of theirs, Roger Willaims, was dying of pancreatic cancer.
President Carter asked for his number, and Osborne mentioned leaving his cell phone in his car.
“Got get the number!” Carter exclaimed. Osborne recounted that Carter was able to call Williams, and Williams died the next day.
He talked about how thankful he was for the influence both had on his life.
“I never really deserved it. God just gave it to me.”
Afterward he proceeded to play The Old Rugged Cross.
“Happy birthday President Carter, I love you.”
Osborne talked about rewriting Happy Birthday for George Burns and proceeded to play his version for President Carter. He then wove a quilt of songs together based on audience requests, going seamlessly from song to song, and even referring to members of the audience who had asked for them.
He addressed Maranatha Baptist Church.
“Thank you from my heart.”
The audience then proceeded to clap as he played Glory Glory Hallelujah.
Afterwards, Osborne expressed his sorrow at having to say goodbye. Elliotte sang How Great Thou Art and the audience joined in.
Osborne was about to finish, but he was told a member of Carter’s family requested him to play the hymn Eternal Father Strong to Save.
Afterwards I was introduced to Reed Elliotte. I asked him about his desire to become President.
“When George Bush passed, that’s when I decided. I started looking into it, and I thought ‘I think that would be a job for me.’”
He mentioned it was his first time singing at Maranatha except singing with the choir. When asked when he started singing, he replied:
“I have been my whole life.”
I was told he also played keyboard like David Osborne.
“I can’t do that good,” he replied.
He mentioned that he had met Osborne recently.
“August, at Rosalynn Carter’s birthday. This is our second time seeing each other, so we just rehearsed over the phone.”