Soul­ful Sounds

Black His­tory Month cel­e­brated in mu­sic

Texarkana Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Greg Bischof

For hun­dreds of Texarkana res­i­dents, lis­ten­ing to pow­er­ful spir­i­tual hymns didn’t stop with the end of morn­ing church ser­vices Sun­day.

The Twin Cities re­ceived a sweet treat of late af­ter­noon soul­ful re­gale­ment as at least 123 singers came to­gether to cel­e­brate mean­ing­ful mu­sic writ­ten by African-Amer­i­cans at a free SoulFest con­cert, held at the Sul­li­van Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter.

Spir­i­tual, gospel and soul mu­sic flowed re­fresh­ingly through­out the cen-

singers from the Texarkana Re­gional Cho­rale, Gram­bling State Uni­ver­sity Con­cert Choir and the Lib­erty Ey­lau Var­sity Choir, cou­pled with the Cho­rale Or­ches­tra, all pitched in their tal­ent to de­liver heart stir­ring songs.

Lead­ing off with “The Star-Span­gle Ban­ner” fol­lowed by “Lift Ev­ery Voice and Sing.” Mu­sic Di­rec­tor and Con­duc­tor Mar­cAn­drea Bougie guided the per­for­mance crisp ren­di­tion of “Joshua Fit the Bat­tle of Jeri­cho,” be­fore hand­ing mu­sic’s con­duc­tion off to the very able hands of Gram­bling States’ Mu­sic Di­rec­tor Na­tor­shau Davis.

For her part, Davis lead her choir in a sooth­ing a cap­pella de­liv­ery of “In Bright Man­sions Above” be­fore lead­er­ship traded back to Bougie for an con­cen­trated ef­fort by Gram­bling So­prano Dee­dra John­son on “Ev­ery Time I feel the Spirit,” fol­lowed by pow­er­ful run of “Ride On, King Je­sus,” fea­tur­ing So­prano Ha­ley Patillo.

The com­bined choirs then kicked in with strid­ing beat of “When the Saints Go March­ing In,” end­ing that with “I Can Go to God in Prayer.”

Be­fore clos­ing the event Bougie an­nounced that the three choirs will be aim­ing for a joint per­for­mance in Paris, France, in June of 2020.

Staff pho­tos by Hunt Mercier

■ Mem­bers of the Texarkana Re­gional Or­ches­tra, above, play “Lift Ev­ery Voice and Sing” by J. Rosa­mond John­son, ar­ranged by Roland Carter, at Sun­day’s SoulFest at the Sul­li­van Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter in Texarkana, Texas. SoulFest is a con­cert that is part of Fe­bru­ary’s Black His­tory month cel­e­bra­tion. Below, the or­ches­tra plays and the choir sings “Joshua Fit the Bat­tle of Jeri­cho,” ar­ranged by John Rut­ter, while be­ing di­rected by Marc-An­dré Bougie.

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