Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration

  1. Handel's Messiah - A Soulful Celebration Various - All 16 tracks of the album 1:10:58

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So, lots of people know the “Hallelujah” [since we are performing it in two days I HOPE everyone knows it!!] from “Soulful Celebration”, but not many have heard the other 15 tracks that make up the entire piece (15 additional tracks not counting the Overture which I omitted). As a public service I am posting the work in its entirety and a track listing to listen track by track if you’d like. It’s worth the listen, but it isn’t your grandmother’s Messiah, that’s for sure. Enjoy.

This Too Shall Pass

  1. This Too Will Pass Rev. James Cleveland and Charles Fold 7:42

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James Cleveland and Charles (“Charlie”) Fold sing a great duet on the first few verses, and then the choir falls in. They may not have the most melodious voices, but together they are just right and compliment each other. Don’t miss the end; it’s a great vamp and great fun when Cleveland gets the audience involved by teaching them the parts. This is yet another of my all time favorites.

My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord

  1. My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord O'Landa Draper and The Associates 3:28

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This is one fine piece of a capella singing, and the live recording with the enthusiastic audience is electric. The song is so powerful and perfectly delivered, it is a performance most other choirs could only dream of achieving. This is one of my personal favorites.

O’Landa Draper (September 29, 1964 – July 21, 1998) was a Grammy Award-winning Gospel music artist. He was the founder of the Associates Choir and considered to be one of the top gospel artists in the 1990s. Draper was nominated for the Grammy Award, Stellar Awards and the Dove Award multiple times.

Draper was known for his choir directing style. Songs that were well-known by fans of Draper’s work were, “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord”, “Lift the Savior Up, “Stand Up”, Gotta Feelin'”, “He Touched Me”, and “Give It Up”.

Draper grew up in Alabama and Washington D.C. listening to gospel music as a child. His late mother, Marie Draper, was a gospel music promoter and artist, and was a main reason for his fascination in the genre. When he was 13, he moved to Memphis and attended Overton High School (Memphis, Tennessee) where he joined a glee club. He began to write and sing gospel music in the club. After he finished his musical studies in high school, he moved on to the Memphis State where he directed the school’s choir. After school he would work part-time for Federal Express.

In 1985, he formed his own choir and named them “The Associates” in Memphis, Tennessee. Gospel artist Earnest Pugh was once a member of The Associates.

On July 21, 1998, only weeks after his recording of “Reflections”, Draper died of renal failure at age 34.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O’Landa_Draper

I Promised The Lord, I Would Hold Out

  1. I Promised The Lord, I Would Hold Out Albertina Walker 4:42

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Another great classic song from Alberta Walker, “The Queen of Gospel”.

I Am Waiting

  1. I Am Waiting The Gospel Music Workshop of America 7:00

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Lord,You’re My Everything

  1. Lord,You're My Everything Rev. Maceo Woods & Christian Tabernacle 4:15

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All the Way

From the album “I Don’t Know Why” by The National Convention of Choirs & Choruses. Released: 1983.

  1. All The Way The National Convention of Choirs & Choruses 3:42

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As Thomas Dorsey traveled, the popularity of the gospel choir or chorus began to spread. It was through this that Dorsey saw a need to organize these choirs collectively into unions. The first Gospel choral union was organized in Chicago on August 17, 1932 and Professor Dorsey was elected president.

The success of the union gave rise to the organization of a convention. Professor Dorsey made contacts with the directors of the out of town Gospel choirs. With the help of others, plans were made for a convention of singers. Professor Dorsey along with Professor Theodore Frye, Magnolia Butts, Sallie Martin and Henry J. Carruthers were the five organizers of the convention.

On August 30, 1933, at the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago, the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses was organized and held its first session ending September 1, 1933. It went down in history as the first convention of its kind. Its formal initial name was the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses and Smaller Musical Groups, Inc.

Every feature of the annual National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses was designed for the betterment of the Christian singer, instrumentalist, educator or leader; geared toward enabling the prepared Gospel ambassador; and purposed for the individual to be spiritually motivated to live the message of the Gospel song.

From http://ncgccinc.com/

When It’s All Over

  1. When It's All Over Rev. Clay Evans & The Ship 4:08

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The day after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in 1964, construction crews rolled off the lot of the church’s future sanctuary, leaving a steel frame on the corner of Princeton Avenue and 45th Place. For eight years, that steel frame stood as a symbol of the clash between the Rev. Clay Evans, pastor of Fellowship, and then-Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who would not forgive the pastor for hosting the civil rights leader and sought revenge by hampering efforts to complete the new church. But by the time Daley’s son became mayor decades later, Evans had risen to prominence in the pulpit, gospel music and politics. His distinctive, raspy voice and gospel choir had earned international acclaim with millions of albums sold. Instead of fighting the younger Daley, Evans became one of his closest allies, bridging the gap between City Hall and clergy and empowering the black church. On Sunday, May 30, 2010, in a swan song of sorts for the elder pastor, Evans, 84, held a ceremony to mark the passing of Fellowship’s leadership to his successor, the Rev. Charles Jenkins, during a live recording of Jenkins’ first album at the choir’s helm. Jenkins said the album — titled “Pastor Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Live: The Best of Both Worlds” — bridges the two generations of ministry on Chicago’s South Side and brings Evans’ legacy full circle. It was while working as a porter at one of Chicago’s renowned music clubs that Evans discovered his voice. Instead of starting a band, he became a preacher who started a choir. Ordained in 1950, Evans and five others soon founded Fellowship, or “The Ship” as it’s known by parishioners. Evans quickly earned a reputation for his booming voice in the pulpit and choir. In 1965, the church’s choir recorded the first of three dozen albums. At least 81 aspiring ministers studied under Evans, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whom Evans ordained in 1965, about the same time Jackson left seminary to march with King. A year earlier, when other churches bowed to political pressure and declined to welcome King to their pulpits, Evans rolled out the red carpet, Jackson said, but not without consequence. Richard J. Daley blocked permits and persuaded bankers to halt their loans for the new church building. Other pastors underwrote the rest of the construction, which was completed by 1973. Jackson credits Evans for shifting the mindset of African-American congregations in Chicago and in turn altering the way politicians viewed the institution of the black church. Before that time, churches were more concerned with “personal salvation over social emancipation,” Jackson said. Evans galvanized ministers to reach out to the community, he said. Charles Bowen, an aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley who helped him win his first election, recalls his surprise given the history when Evans approached him in 1990 to serve as an intercessor between City Hall and Chicago’s African-American clergy. “He felt Mr. Richard M. Daley should be given a chance and should not carry the weight of his father,” said Bowen, the former executive assistant to the mayor who retired in 2004. Bowen brokered the donation of lots for churches to develop in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Though some frowned on the arrangement, others savored the irony of the alliance between Evans and the younger Daley. Evans said he believes in restoring and preserving legacies. It’s the reason he gives for endorsing the re-election bid of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger this year despite accusations of corruption. Evans thought that Stroger, like Richard M. Daley, deserved a chance to transform the family legacy. “That’s what we do as ministers,” he said. “We wanted to be his physician. The well don’t need physicians.” It’s also the reason Evans gives for handing over the reins of his church 10 years ago before many of his peers. Evans recognized that many pastors were staying past their prime and tarnishing their legacies by doing so. He didn’t want to take away from any of the good he might have created. “If you can put it into the hands of somebody capable and committed,” he said, “it just gets better.”

He Lives

  1. He Lives Rev. Timothy Wright & Rev. Jerome Ferrell with The Lighthouse Choir. 5:07

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Don’t let the cheesy strings on the electronic keyboard at the start throw you…it soon gives way to a mighty Hammond B3 and the song takes off from there. And talk about some vocal Olympics (starting abound 1:40)! YIKES.

Rev. Timothy Wright once said, “I thank God for the memory of the late Dr. James Cleveland. I consider him to be one of my musical mentors. He used to always tell me, he said, ‘Timothy, you don’t need a whole lot of words to make a song. Two or three words and that’ll do…long as they get the message.‘ ” Rev. Wright clearly heeded Rev. Cleveland’s advice here. This song uses all of SEVEN unique words in the 5+ minutes that it runs!
“I’m so glad He lives
I’m glad I know He lives”.

This is perfect call and response at it’s spontaneous best…and it ends up with an unexpected Holy Dance/Praise Break to finish it off!! It’s wonderful how such a simple song can be so powerful. Even if you are not a believer, you STILL come away GLAD HE LIVES!