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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Singing Songs of Freedom

Gospel singers from UMB, Boston University, and the Zion Baptist church in Lynn gathered in the Lipke Auditorium to perform a workshop concert on Thursday, April 22 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Everyone present was asked to stand and introduce themselves, which helped create a comfortable atmosphere.

Rev. Adrienne Berry-Burton from the UMB Interfaith Chapel welcomed everyone and commented, “We had a fantastic workshop today.” Professor Hubert Walters, who teaches a course in African-American music at UMB, led the workshop choir earlier that day from 4:00-7:00 p.m.

As the sopranos, altos, and tenors strode to the front of the auditorium and took their places, Walters shared a bit of history about gospel music. He explained that African-Americans working in plantations were not allowed to use instruments. Therefore, their voices were developed and became the most profound instrument.

He said, “The purpose of music is to give glory. Gospel is not as much music as it is a message.” The workshop reached one conclusion, that “Gospel is a style of music, a way of singing, an attitude!” he told the audience. Berry-Burton explained that only a third of the UMB Gospel Choir was present because of work or other engagements. Nevertheless, the choir still sounded harmonious.

Following the UMB gospel choir, members of the Follow Hymn Interfaith Gospel choir took their places on the stage. Virginia Peacock-Makkers accompanied the singers on the piano. Their first piece was “Jesus Loves Me.” As with the UMB choir, only a third of Follow Hymn was present but still filled the auditorium with beautiful, powerful voices. Berry-Burton, singing soprano, took the microphone and sang her heart out with “Over My Head.”

According to Peacock-Makkers, “We sing spiritual and inspirational music, but gospel music is our passion. The history of gospel music is as rich and diverse as the history and diversity of this country, with roots stemming from spiritual music to the sounds of today’s contemporary gospel artists. We believe gospel music comes from the deepest part of the soul and speaks to every human emotion.”

Proving her point, the gospel music of the evening visibly lifted everyone’s spirit. Audience participation ranged from simply tapping feet, to hand clapping, to singing along. One could feel the passion pouring out of the lips of the singers, ascending from the very bottom of their souls.

The audience was invited to join hands with the gospel singers on stage to participant in a prayer and sing “This Little Light of Mine.”

The singers gave credit for the event to Walters, for sharing his knowledge, gifts and skills and Dr. J. Keith Motley and the Division Of Student Affairs for a generous StARS (Student Affairs Resources for Success) grant that supported the workshop and concert.

The UMB gospel choir sings every Monday in the Interfaith Chapel at 2:30 p.m. For more info, e-mail [email protected]. To learn more about Follow Hymn, visit their webpage at www.followhymn.org.