The Gospel Choir's Spring Concert

by John Cataldo, , May 20, 2010

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The gospel choir held a spring concert this year which included other musical groups, such as, Cortland A Capella, Piano Instrumentals and Jazz. I really enjoy gospel music even though it is not the most popular genre of music. Many classic gospel songs were sung with a lot of enthusiasm from the choir. They were far more impressing than I originally thought, even though I heard all of the songs before I was still taken back when they were performed. That is something that doesn't happen often but when it does it is an experience to remember.

Hezekiah Walker is an award winning gospel recording artist, founder and leader of the Love Fellowship Choir, and pastor and bishop of the Love fellowship Tabernacle. He has released a total of seventeen gospel albums since 1987. His musical decorations include two Grammy's for Best Gospel Album By Choir or Chorus. He wrote two gospel greats that are sung by choirs all across the nation and can also be found on almost any gospel CD out today. Walker was a big part of gospel music for many years and that's why the first two songs of the concert were his, "I Will Bless The Lord" and "Faithful Is Our God".

The next artist featured in this concert was Lawrence Matthews. Matthews is another gospel musician who isn't as popular as Walker. He produced plenty of gospel songs but many of them never became very popular. There was one that seemed to catch on with choirs across the nation that was the third song of the concert, "Bless His Holy Name".

After Matthews came Pastor John P. Kee, a pastor from Charlotte, North Carolina. He attended North Carolina School of Arts as a teenager; after school he took a couple of years to himself but he witnessed his friend get shot during a bad drug deal. This event led Kee back to music and God, during the 1980's he started his own choir he called it the New Life Community Choir. This was a very popular group in North Carolina, they would travel all around the state to perform. As the popularity grew Kee decided to expand, he then created the Victory in Praise Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir. This was created to he could combine his music with other musicians, song writers and choir directors located all over the country. He has been involved in the gospel music world for over twenty years and was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007. He is a gospel music legend and one of his songs was the fourth song that was sung by the gospel choir, "I'm Covered".

Lonnie Hunter was the next gospel musician to be featured in this concert. Hunter was influenced by his mother who was also a prominent gospel singer. He joined the U.S. Air Force and continued to sing by being the leading vocalist in the USAF Jazz Band. Hunter is a decorated musician and business man in the religious community. He has been the Minister of Music for St. Mark M.B. Church for the past 23 years. He has made a lasting impression on the religious music community and we can see this with the performance of his song "Let's Dance" by the gospel choir.

The next artist whose song was sung in the concert was Richard Smallwood. Smallwood is an enormous contributor to the gospel society. He has mastered the art of blending classical movements with traditional gospel. He is highly decorated in the gospel society; he has been nominated for over ten different music awards but only won four times. He won the stellar award four times for his song "Healing". He has traveled and performed with many famous musicians, like Michael Jackson. Smallwood was one musician to revolutionize gospel and he will be remembered for it; that is why his songs are sung in choirs all over the nation, like ours. The Richard Smallwood song the SUNY Cortland choir chose to sing was "Perfect Praise".

The last song performed by the SUNY Cortland gospel choir was "oh happy day". This song is known by almost everyone around the world. It is a song that can raise a crowd to its feet in second, and have them moving with the beat almost instantly. Only a piano is used to play this song, it is the voices of the choir that really give it its power. Khalia Brown of the SUNY Cortland gospel choir made the audience go wild. Her voice is so powerful she was heard clearly throughout the entire auditorium. Her solo performance was a perfect way to end the concert, especially with a song as well known and popular as oh happy day. This song has been featured in concerts, plays, musicals and even movies. This song is most commonly known for it performance in the movie The Sister Act 2. To watch that scene where the song is played it is great, but to see the song performed in front of you with such tenacity that Ms. Brown did is just simply indescribable.

The SUNY Cortland gospel choir gave me something that took my mind of everything else. I wasn't thinking about school and the amount of work that needed to be done before the end of the semester; my mind was solely on the music. A good gospel choir should be able to do that to any person and the SUNY Cortland gospel choir was able to do it to me. So you can expect to see me at all the gospel choir concerts next fall.

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