by M. Abdul-Qawiyy
For New Pittsburgh Courier
The Pittsburgh Gospel Choir celebrated five years of singing God’s praises: stronger and deeper with its annual Fall Concert at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church.
The Choir has recruited more than 105 members and also continues to receive requests. Most audience members, religious or not, are thoroughly impressed, entertained, and moved when attending a concert; and some are even emotionally and spiritually transformed. The motivational words and artistic excellence transcend all differences, creating a space to experience the power, beauty and spirituality that is Gospel music.
THE PITTSBURGH GOSPEL CHOIR IN CONCERT (Photo by Gail Manker)
Under the direction of Herbert V.R.P. Jones, PhD, the choir’s membership is diverse, both ethnically and generationally. The late Ralph Murray founded the choir with Jones becoming the director. Murray believed that there was a need for a strong professional Gospel choir and Jones’ extraordinary leadership allowed for musical and spiritual gifts to permeate into the audience.
This year’s Fall Concert included Gospel standards such as “Even Me and Matthew 28.” However, there were several newer additions such as “A City Called Heaven,” which is a Negro spiritual with a modern twist. Others include, “My God Is an Awesome God” and “We Have the Victory,” both of which are hybrids of the gospel and classical choral sound.
While reflecting its mission to celebrate gospel music in the community, the Pittsburgh Gospel Choir provides an experience that allows an appreciation for Gospel to blossom.
The concert, designed to be uplifting and entertaining, celebrated the importance of community worship through song and praise.