The Power of Music in Bethel Church

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The love for music has characterized my life for as long as I can remember. To me, music is not only enjoyable but also healing. During my early years in school, I was an active music class student, a character that remains to date. The promotion of this ideal remains the most enduring. I recently attended a Bethel Baptist Church Gospel Choral Concert which was held on 25th

February. It was well set-up event and indeed, even the guests who attended were all neatly dressed and the songs were sung jovially. The auditorium at Bethel has a seating capacity of 900 people. The seats are comfortable and the stage design allows the audience an opportunity to have an all-around view of the activities taking place on the stage. The performers likewise have ample space to set up the stage according to their plan. The exit pathways are clear and the signage sufficient.  The venue itself is accommodative of all ages including people with special needs. On this particular day, the place was packed to capacity.

The powerful voices of the singers echoed through the hall and the audience enjoyed the performance immensely. A variety of songs that included spiritual, dance and classic hymns were played. Aspects of modernity put into the songs made them sound differently yet retain the same message and a great tune. As I entered the auditorium, melodious gospel music was already sounding there. To get a picture of what was lined up that day, I looked for a program that could guide me. Accordingly, three different types of Gospel music from three different bands were scheduled.  Richmond Punch, the African Children’s Choir and Joyful Sounds were to present different items.

            Richmond Punch was the first on stage, and it was his singing that I had heard as I walked in. He had completed singing ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’. Then, he sang his renditions of ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Take my Heart’, which coincidentally are two of my favorite gospel songs. The popular songs were done in an upbeat and melodic manner. As it happens in a church setting, many were moved by the tunes and moved to the rhythm of the songs uniformly. The harmony laid by the Violin of Punch made the songs very melodious and turned them from serious worship to celebration songs. The texture of the songs too was great. The reason for this arose from how the harmonies were complemented by the other instruments.

            The action by the guitar players to create a beat by using the palm of their hands to mute the guitar strings was in itself beautiful. Indeed, it helped to decode the rhythm of the songs more easily. Once in a while, Punch and his cast would stomp their feet on the floor to the beat of the music. As soon as they finished the last song, the audience broke into applause and gave them a standing ovation.

            Apart from the lead singer and his violin, the other instruments used by this included guitars and trumpets. The quality of the songs they played, how the instruments were played and the sounds produced made the songs have a sync element that tuned all the sounds into one.

            After a twenty minutes’ break, the African Children’s Choir came on stage. They are an African group of disadvantaged children who highlight the plight of Africa through singing. In the process, they manage to learn up to university and later assist their homelands. The children sang to the instrumentals of a song their predecessors sang in 2008 ‘A New Hallelujah’ by the Gospel musician Michael W. Smith, (Smith); ‘You Raise Me Up’ by Josh Groban, (Groban) and ‘Walking in the Light of God’ by an anonymous composer, (The African Children's Choir). Since they are essentially dancers, their clothes were nicely decorated. Their shoes were made in such a manner that a percussive sound was produced every time they tapped the ground. The African dance steps to the pre-recorded music were awesome. The children did their best and to a large extent reproduced the tunes and voices of the composers of three gospel songs at a relatively high tempo. In my listening to the music, I felt that the show would have been superb if the songs had been live with the children being part of the Smith and Groban choirs. The guitar was the main background instrument and also the main tune to which the rhythm of the song followed. The song ‘Walking in the Light of God’ had an instrumentation that included the sound of the harp. It gave the song a sultry feeling that I felt was consistent with the origin and intention that the singers wanted to achieve. The songs sang had a profound effect on the audience. For some, tears flowed freely maybe as they wondered about African life and the beauty of it in the voices of the children. As soon as they finished, they received a standing ovation.

One thing I noticed as I listened to them, however, was their inability to adequately reach some of the uniquely high and deep baritone tones of Josh Groban. Nonetheless, the children sang eloquently and convincingly.

The last group to come was the Joyful Singers who are based in Boise, Idaho. They sang a Samba Gospel song entitled Maktub (Está Escrito) by Lydia Moisés, (Moisés). Initially starting out with a group of three playing a steady beat using electric drums, the tempo began rather slowly but picked up as the song continued. Despite the Brazilian tune, the Gospel artists only indicator of their heritage was on the bracelets they wore. Indeed, I only became aware after a camera was zoomed on the wrist of one dancer and then zoomed on the large screens on the auditorium. Unlike the two earlier groups, the persistence by the last group to play only drums to an extent disadvantaged their performance. It was easy to identify the different timbre of the sounds made by the drums since they differed in size. Nonetheless, the lack of harmony was evident since the instrument itself is not harmonious when played alone. An outstanding aspect that could be clearly identified was the dynamism. The lead player would play and accentuate beats to amplify those of other drummers. The big drums gave texture to the small drums through the variation of sound. The beat and the rhythm marked this team. Like the others, they were accorded a polite applause as they left.

The Gospel Concert was awesome. It is an event that I would never want to miss. My recommendation to everyone is that they should attend such in order to learn more about music and performance.

           

References

Smith, Michael W. A New Hallelujah. 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBxOkruKpqI. Accessed 11 Mar 2018.

Groban, Josh. You Raise Me Up. 2004, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJxrX42WcjQ. Accessed 11 Mar 2018.

Moisés, Lydia. Está Escrito. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G5_7yDcj4Q. Accessed 11 Mar 2018.

The African Children's Choir. Walking In The Light Of God. 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-cwM54SiPk. Accessed 11 Mar 2018.

October 05, 2023
Category:

Music

Number of pages

5

Number of words

1191

Downloads:

34

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