After several months of performing from their kitchen table, Mat and Savanna Shaw will soon be taking a significantly larger stage: the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
At the onset of the pandemic, the father-daughter duo from Kaysville went viral for a rendition of “The Prayer” they expected to reach only close friends and family. But millions of people ended up seeing their performance, and they quickly caught the attention of “Good Morning America,” “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and Broadway producers.
“I really genuinely only thought that my friends and my family were going to see it,” Savanna Shaw, 16, previously told the Deseret News during a Zoom call. “And I think if I would’ve known how big it would get, I probably would’ve been a lot more nervous. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know that.”
Now, with a debut album about to hit shelves, the Shaws are getting ready for one of their first — and largest — in-person performances.
“It means a lot just to be able to be in a position now — especially in the times that we’re experiencing with this pandemic — to be able to share these messages of hope and encouragement through music,” Mat Shaw previously told the Deseret News. “Never in a million dreams would we have ever thought that our music would have this kind of impact. That’s been the best part.”
The duo will join Gentri for two socially-distanced holiday shows on Dec. 5, according to a news release sent out Wednesday. Made up of three tenors from Utah — Brad Robins, Casey Elliott and Bradley Quinn Lever — Gentri formed in 2014 and opened for OneRepublic at Provo’s 4th of July Stadium of Fire event in 2018.
Like the Shaws, who started singing together to spread some joy during the pandemic, Gentri focuses on positivity.
“We try to write about situations and principles that are universally understood — regardless of culture, regardless of religion,” Robins previously told the Deseret News. “We definitely strive to inspire and uplift, and try to write about things that are hopeful.”
Stephen Nelson, Gentri’s music director and producer, is also an arranger for the Shaws and helped the duo put together its first album.
“‘’Tis the Season — A Christmas Concert with Gentri and Friends” will also include performances from Jay Warren — who recently became Utah’s first recording artist to reach No. 1 on the iTunes R&B chart — and Nick Johnson, a finger-style guitarist from Salt Lake City who has performed in Gentri’s past holiday shows.
The performances, scheduled for 2 and 8 p.m., will follow health department guidelines. All audience members are required to wear masks, hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the arena, and 6-foot distancing will be enforced throughout the lobby, elevators, and seating area, according to the release.
The event is supported by a Create in Utah Grant awarded to the Maverik Center through CARES Act funding, and the Utah Legislature, through the Utah Department of Arts & Museum, according to the release.