Point of Grace marks 30 years in music with stop in Broadview Heights

by Dan Holland

Known for wowing listeners and audiences worldwide with their smooth vocal harmonies, the all-female Contemporary Christian Music vocal group, Point of Grace, made a stop Nov. 26 on Gloria: The Christmas Tour to perform for a near-capacity crowd at Cuyahoga Valley Church in Broadview Heights.

The show was co-sponsored by WFHM 95.5 The Fish.

The trio, which celebrates 30 years in the Christian Music industry this year, consists of vocalists Shelley Breen, Denise Jones and Leigh Cappillino, who all share both lead and harmony vocal duties. The group tours with a four-piece backing band that features Dana Cappillino – Leigh’s husband – as bandleader and guitarist.

The group, which originally formed as a quartet in 1991, released its self-titled debut album on Word Records out of Nashville, Tennessee in 1993. The gold-certified album (500,000 units sold) spawned six No. 1 singles on the Christian album charts and was followed in subsequent years by four studio albums that all reached either platinum (one million units sold) or gold status. The group has sold more than 8 million albums/units and has received more than a dozen GMA Dove Awards and three Grammy Award nominations.

Having released five Christmas albums over the years, the group embarks on a Christmas tour every year. CCM artist Mark Schultz is the opening act on this year’s tour.

“Christmas music lends itself to harmonies, and everyone loves that,” said Breen, a founding member of the group. “It’s a nostalgic time of year, and I think the older we get, the more we love Christmas. The Christmas tours hold a lot of great memories for us.”

“What I love about the Christmas tour is that the audience is all ages, and people come and they’re excited about the season and ready to sing along with us,” added Jones, also a founding member.

The group released its 11th non-Christmas studio album in March 2023: Turn Your Eyes (Songs We Love, Songs You Know) Volume II. The Dove Award-winning album features remakes of a number of classic and contemporary Christian hymns.

“We tried to do songs that are familiar to people that are some of our favorites; a number of praise and worship songs,” said Breen. “That always serves us well in our shows, and a lot of times, churches will ask us to come and just lead worship rather than have us sing Point of Grace songs. So, it’s a good album for us to pull from on the road.”

Branded in the Christian pop music genre for many years, the group delved into other styles over time, including southern gospel, country and bluegrass after Cappillino joined the group in 2004.

“Point of Grace started out as a quartet, and when [original member] Heather Payne retired in 2008, she had been our high soprano singer with a very slick pop-sounding tone,” explained Cappillino. “With just the three of us, at some point, we stopped fighting the ‘pop beast.’ Where it landed was more of an Americana feel.”

Although the group’s sound has evolved over time, its message remains consistent.

“One thing that’s been constant with our music is our message – hope and redemption through Jesus Christ,” says Cappillino. “And all the people we meet along the way; their stories are so great, and to have just a small amount of influence on their lives in that way is such a blessing.”

“Everyone needs hope, and so many people are hurting,” adds Breen. “How great it is that we have a job where we can bring hope and encouragement to so many people because we have found the way to hope through Christ.”

“I love music, and music speaks to my heart, and being on stage with these girls and seeing people respond to us is a joy that never gets old for me,” says Jones. “We have a love and passion for what we’ve been called to do, and hopefully our music can continue to be a source of encouragement for others.”

Photo: Grammy Award-winning Christian music group Point of Grace performed for a sold-out crowd at Cuyahoga Valley Church in Broadview Heights Nov. 26. Photos by Dan Holland.