When she was young, Christmas was a big deal for Susie McEntire.
“We were pretty poor,” she says. “There weren’t many presents, but momma always made sure there were presents under tree.”
“We would just be so excited on Christmas morning,” continues McEntire. She says some years she and her sister, platinum-selling country star and Golden Globe winner, Reba McEntire, would get the same item, just in different colors. “I wished for a baby carriage one year, and I got it.”
These fond memories of Christmas mornings with her family make the holidays rather special for McEntire. In 2009 she released I’ll Be Home For Christmas, a record filled with holiday standards. And she’ll be performing many of those classic at a free holiday concert, right here in Warsaw.
“We came to the fair a couple of years ago, and we’re sure looking forward to coming back for Christmas,” she says. “We’re trying to get the community involved with the children’s choir.” The Warsaw Christian School Children’s Choir will join here onstage for one of the songs.
“I really support the arts,” says McEntire. “I believe that lots of kids can play instruments and go on and get scholarships. It’s good for anybody to learn an instrument or learn to sing.”
McEntire herself started her musical career in her school’s music program. “We had a country-western band because we weren’t big enough to have a marching band,” she recalls. She, Reba and brother, Pake, would go on to form the “Singing McEntires” as teenagers. And in 1984, she dedicated her life to Christian music.
“I felt like it was a calling,” she says. “At that time, I was going through an abusive relationship. My first marriage didn’t make it. I had to make a choice to do what was best for me and my children.”
It was after her divorce that she started singing about “real love” and telling the stories behind her songs. How they were inspired by her own parents and her grandma. “My Grandma Smith, who babysat me while my siblings went to school, it was through her influence that I recognized what Christianity was all about,” McEntire says.
“When I started singing that kind of music, people started coming to my concerts,” she says. “I believe any song can be effective getting people’s hearts and minds turned towards God. I want to be an instrument to encourage husbands and wives to stay together.”
McEntire married Mr. Seattle, Mark Eaton, in 2009. The happy couple have since been inseparable, touring together spreading a message of joy and hope to their audiences. Eaton will typically join McEntire on stage, playing guitar and singing. “My country roots have grown into a full tree with a strong trunk and limbs,” she says.
After releasing 20 albums, she’s racked up four #1 singles on the Positive Coun-
try radio charts, been named a Positive County Music “Artist of the Year” several times, and claimed numerous awards and nominations from TNN, GMA, and CCMA. Give went to #1 on the Inspirational Country Chart this year, and is a top five nominee in the ICM Faith, Family and Country Awards.
And she will bring that chart-topping, award-winning talent to the the Lakeview Middle School auditorium on Friday, Dec. 19. To see the show, bring a new, unwrapped toy to benefit Toys For Tots. Doors open 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ll take time to visit with people,” McEntire says. There will be a meet-and-greet before the show where she and Eaton – who will join her on stage to sing a few of the Christmas carols – will sign autographs and take pictures.