Go out and sing it on the mountain! Southwestern College has a gospel choir.
Exuberant and uplifting, the choir made up for a general lack of polish with an overabundance of charisma and spirit.
It does not have to be Sunday to sing to The Lord and the gospel choir borrowed deep from the church to bring a bit of heaven to a secular audience.
“Give Him Praise” was the first song the choir premiered and the audience clapped and shouted with love. “He Reigns” was more upbeat and fun. Many unique voices came together along with the powerful drums and piano.
Choir director Leonard Patton snapped along to Michael Beers’ beat as David Castel de Oro conjured delta gospel and African call-and-response from his piano. Alex Vargas followed along gamely on bass.
Patton’s arrangement of “Walk With Me” moved the audience. Four soloists expressed the struggle of the tedious journey through their passionate chant. Jon-Anthoni Nieves, Lorise Diamond, Elisha Moore and Andrew Kaswik showcased their talent. Kaswik lifted the crowd skyward as he hit the high notes like a melodic stairway to heaven.
“I Won’t Go Back” sent out a joyous vibe even as soloist flubbed some passages. Audience members, though, were less concerned about a few sharps and flats, and more about the spirit of the evening.
A gospel choir is not about exceptional singers, it is about singers who love to the music and the innovative people who create it in the cotton patches, docks and pews of the Old South. Freedom has rarely sounded so divine.