Monday, December 3, 2012

IFC Concert Preview: Israel Baptist Mass Choir

Members of Israel Baptist Mass Choir participating in our rehearsal. The time has come!

This year’s 33rd InterFaith Concert will feature many diverse artists who all hold a great musical talent. In the Israel Baptist Church Mass Choir, this talent includes individuals for whom music has been lifetime devotion.

Dr. Ola H. Gathers is the Minister of Music for the Israel Baptist Church. Though she has only been in the Israel Baptist Mass Choir for two years, she has a long history of musical involvement. “All 72 wonderful years of my life,” she says with a radiant smile. “Music is my life. And I have been involved in church music since I was 8 years old.”

“My faith comes from music because I am so into church music,” says Dr. Gathers. “And if it’s not Biblically sound I don’t do it. So, when the music is presented it is actually presenting the Bible musically to me. And it feeds my soul and it enhances my faith.”

Dr. George G. West, who will be playing the organ on Thursday, has also been involved in music throughout his life, about 60 years he estimates. He was Chairman of the Piano Faculty at Southern University and has performed and worked with a number of prominent musicians, including Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin.

“I see myself as a vessel, as being used by God,” says Dr. West. “There have been some very exciting things that have been happening to me recently. Angelic voices have been singing songs to me in my very head. And as they sing them I write them out. So I have a large number of pieces that I’m getting ready to publish and record, and that was given to me by other sources. So I see myself as a vessel.”

The Israel Baptist Mass Choir will be performing a traditional hymn and a spiritual for the concert. “They present two different needs, for lack of a better word, but at the same time a strong message,” explains Dr. Gathers. The song “Holy is the Lord” is about giving absolute praise to the Lord, says Dr. Gathers. On the other hand, the spiritual “City Called Heaven” is “about going through trials and tribulations in life,” she says. “But the ultimate goal is that one day we won’t have these trials and tribulations. We’re going to a city called Heaven. So that’s why I selected those two.”

What do they hope the audience gets from their performance? “We hope that they get a spiritual message. That’s the goal of the church choir,” explains Dr. Gathers. “That we send a message that the people will receive, and as a result of receiving it, they will come into the church. And they will learn to love God as we learned to love God. Secondly, that there will certainly enjoy for what we have done. That they will love the harmony, the dynamics, and they will love everything about it. And that they will see the excitement that we have when we sing our music.”

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