It was a magical night filled with anointed singing, dancing and music.
Local songstress J’Aira Pryor and her friends, gospel group Praise, Worship and Deliverance, mime group Spirit Mime Ministry and singers Joey Morris and Rev. Les Boone gave the audience the reason for the Christmas season at New Horizon Theater.
“Truly we praise God for being here to celebrate Christ’s birth,” said Praise, Worship & Deliverance member, Pamela Morman.
That goal was definitely accomplished.
Pryor and her friends sang updated renditions of various Christmas songs that were arranged by Pryor.
Highlights of the two-hour concert included “The Little Drummer Boy,” which featured a solo by Pryor’s brother, Brandon.
Brandon, who lives in Dayton, Ohio, came back to Pittsburgh to help his big sister with the concert.
The 18 year old has more than 15 years of experience as a drummer. He has showcased his talents in Arizona and at the Fiesta Bowl. He is the drummer for his band, Definite Tomorrow.
“At two years old that boy banged on my coffee table and my couch. I guess it paid off,” said J’Aira and Brandon’s mother, Michelle, who served as mistress of ceremonies.
Before the start of the second half of the concert, which featured J’Aira, Michelle, gushing with pride, introduced her daughter.
“Before J’Aira did all she has, she was my little stooky. Her coordination wasn’t quite right. But to see her work with her left hand and her right hand, I’m quite proud of her,” Michelle said.
Pryor got her start in music at the age of nine when she studied piano under Rita Hilliard. She gained notoriety as a traveling musician with the National Association of Negro Musicians. She began to showcase her vocal talent while she was a contestant in the Miss Black Teenage pageant. She will release her debut CD next summer.
Other gems in the holiday concert included Joey Morris’ moving rendition of “Cherish That Name,” Christmas Time is Here/Let Us Worship Him” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
The finale of the concert was very powerful as Pryor and her friends performed the Walt Whitman-pinned “Perfect Praise” and “We Shall Behold Him.”
Spirit Mime Ministry, which hails from St. Paul Baptist Church in Oakmont, came down the aisles of the theater holding candles while Pryor, Praise Worship and Deliverance and Rev. Boone collaborated on “We Shall Behold Him.”
The song left the audience in awe.
“She can sing!,” said one. “Yeah, she got a real sweet voice!” agreed another. Former Miss Black Teenage vocal coach, Penny Turner, agreed with the audience.
“J’Aira has really blossomed and matured. She has confidence and pride and you can see that she’s really fulfilling her dream,” Turner said. “The concert was lovely from beginning to end. J’Aira did a wonderful job. I’m looking forward to hearing her again soon.”