East Brentwood Presbyterian Celebrates Their Musical Riches with A Night on Broadway

East Brentwood Presbyterian Church (EBPC) hosted their first-ever evening of music, titled “A Night on Broadway” with the talented duo, Chris Lee (of “Hamilton”) and Nate Strasser.

Chris Lee, a former Belmont student, has recently been cast in the Chicago production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s successful Broadway musical and pop culture phenomenon “Hamilton”, which begins its Chicago run on Tuesday, Sept. 27. He will portray Marquis de Lafayette in the first act of the musical and Thomas Jefferson in the second act. He’ll star alongside Tony-winner Karen Olivo and Miguel Cervantes, who has been cast as Alexander Hamilton. Lee has also starred in productions such as “Oklahoma!”, “The Twelfth Night”, “Godspell”, “In the Heights”, “Annie”, “Hairspray”, “Les Miserables”, “Tarzan”, “The Wiz”, and “Footloose”.

Lee invited members from his band, Sound Proof – Ethan Jones and Matthew Mahfood – to join him onstage to perform some of their original songs. Sound Proof originated in Nashville, while they were studying together at Belmont University.

Lee performed alongside Nate Strasser, the music director for EBPC. Strasser is a film composer, pianist and staff accompanist for the musical theater department at Belmont University. As an arranger, he has done music prep work for Dave Matthews and Seth Macfarlane. In 2013, Nate was one of 20 students worldwide accepted into the film scoring graduate program at USC in Los Angeles. Since graduation, he has scored a number of films including one that debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Lee was ecstatic to perform for EBPC. “This is really fun,” Lee said. “I’m glad to be here and to take a break from Hamilton and just enjoy the crowd here.” Lee admitted that he has experienced great blessings throughout his journey to Hamilton. “Over the past eight weeks I have seen the favor of God. I’ve been so blessed and I’m excited about where I’m going.”

Strasser said he had originally asked another friend to come to this event, but when the friend’s performance schedule became tight, he instantly thought of Lee. “I thought there’d be no way to get Chris to come out,” Strasser said. “But less than five minutes after I texted him, expecting not to get a response, he said he was all in and said ‘yes, I’d love to be a part of this!'”

Pastor John Hilley explained that the church has an “embarrassment of riches,” when it comes to the musical talents EBPC has to offer. “We have so many musicians here, along with a great staff and volunteers who came together to help put on this program,” Hilley said.

It was clear that both Lee and Strasser surprised one another with their own musical skills. Strasser even played several improvisational songs, in which Lee’s response was a mixture of wide eyes, laughter, and words of praise, including, “Why did you even invite me? You’re so good! That was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.”