You look at his smile and you’d never guess anything was wrong. His fingers light up his violin as he plays his heart out. The sound he makes is exhilarating- he plays in such a way that the world can’t help but stop and listen, and we can’t imagine a world where he isn’t able to make that music.
Brian King Joseph, this year’s performer for our Special Christmas Service, is a 27-year-old America’s Got Talent finalist who climbed the ranks to 3rd place in 2018 because of his spectacular electric violin show. He is nicknamed “The King of the Violin,” which is very fitting for this revolutionary performer. From the young age of 4 years old Brian has been classically trained in the violin and piano. Now, you can witness him performing brilliant covers of popular songs, and most recently he graced the stage of NBC’s America’s Got Talent and has reached over 15 million views online in his first year. His life seems picture-perfect to many viewers, but life has been anything but easy for Brian.
In 2012 the violinist was diagnosed with neuropathy, which is a severe nerve disease that causes him to lose feeling in his hands and feet. Every time he plays, he’s in pain. Before his diagnosis, he was awarded a full ride scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. His passion was rewarded in incredible recognition and honors, but this diagnosis caused him to withdraw from the university. However, he didn’t let his pain stop him from pursuing his passion and continuing his craft. He inspires us with his persevering joy as he recognizes that every day he gets to play is a gift- and he shares that gift with the world. He plays his electric violin and dazzles people with his light show that accompanies his covers. What better way to symbolize the light he brings to people through his music than to visually watch those notes come to life on stage through washes of color?
This year, we want to focus on the theme of Light and celebrate the Light of the World this season.
BKJ is a perfect reminder to all of us that through pain and trials in life we can continue to spread positivity and hope to those around us.
He said it best in a recent interview, “The nature of my disease is that every day, it’s worse than before. In spite of that, I’ve always had to overcome challenges in my life… But, looking back now, I realize it just prepared me to deal with situations like what I’m going through right now. Honestly, I think without my violin, without music, I may have felt hopeless forever. But, given the fact that I had something to focus on and rely on instead of the negative, instead of the pain, to focus on something positive and have my music, it made me want to play more. It let me live my life. You can’t be negative going through life, it’s so hard. As a young man, I really felt and realized that, and it really gave me the fire and the positivity to go on. I won’t give in and I’m not going to give up.”
What has God gifted you within your life that is a light to the darkness? What inspires you to keep going and shine on? Is it your family, friends, a passion or talent, or is it simply your relationship with God? Whatever it is, it’s our prayer this season that you celebrate that joy!