Gospel and blues are so closely linked that they seem to be two sides of the same coin. Well, when I attended the Christmas concert at St Philip AME Church last evening--"Make A Joyful Noise For Toys: By Candlelight"--my heart was filled up with great gospel music. This was the 23rd annual event, and it was sure great! There were two choirs, a very fine band, the Vanessa Fanning String Ensemble, and a full, supportive sanctuary of folks to play for. Most importantly, there was a good cause to motivate--toys for children for Christmas. Admission was a toy.
The highlights were many. The combined choirs kicked things off with a fantastic version of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" with Mrs. Yolanda DuBose, soloist. This number had fine work by the horn section of Kendell Baker on trombone and Ryan Jackson on trumpet. It was in the pocket! Next up was "Infant Lowly, Infant Holy" with Mr. Carlton Allen, Sr., soloist. As the combined choirs hit the last chorus I swear the whole Sanctuary was moving. We were in Church, y'all! And it went on and on like that for well over 2 hours. It was a terrific opportunity to hear top-notch Gospel music live. Great work by the Sanctuary Choir, by the Choir # 1, by L'Tanya Moore, Director and Music Coordinator, and by everybody who participated.
Towards the end of the evening it was announced that enough toys were collected for almost 700 children. It was a great evening. If you were there you know what I mean. My words don't do it justice--but if you missed it, make plans to catch it next year.