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Sammy Strain & the Imperials, 1964 -, Part 4 in the series

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Richard Barrett
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Richard Barrett
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2013 Portsmouth, VA Gospel Concert
 
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at Manchester, NJ

 
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at New Providence Library

 
bulletJohn Moore's Middle Room Records Closes
 
bulletLittle Isidore in Fair Lawn, NJ
 
bulletNJ Doo Wop Singers Club Jan 2013
 
bulletCelebrating Asbury Park's West Side Harmony
 
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bulletChuck Berry Honored by the R&R Hall of Fame
 
bulletQuiet Storm at Somerset Run
 
bulletAsbury Angels 2012 Induction Ceremony
 
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bullet Classic Urban Harmony Celebrates Vocal Harmony & the Masqueraders 50th Anniversary
Multi-Part
 
bulletFrankie Lymon Tombstone Finds a New Home
 
bulletStormin Norman Seldin & Return of Ray & Darchaes in Monmouth Beach NJ
 
bullet2012 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
 
bulletTNT North Jersey R&B and Doo Wop Party - 2nd Anniversary
 
bulletAcappella Extravaganza at Molloy College 2011
 
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Rev. Brenda Boone Productions'
Virginia "Legends of Gospel" Concert
February 28, 2010, Portsmouth, Virginia


(Click on flyer to enlarge, then
use the Back button to return to this page.)
 

On Sunday, February 28, 2010, Classic Urban Harmony’s Charlie & Pam Horner attended and helped sponsor the Reverend Brenda Boone and The Higher Praise Community Choir’s "Legends of Gospel" concert at The Holy Light Church of Deliverance in Portsmouth, VA. 

The Hampton Roads/Tidewater area of Virginia, that includes Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake and Newport News has long been a hotbed or quartet harmony.  Beginning with the Hampton Institute Quartet in the 1880’s, this area has produced such great Spiritual and Gospel quartets as the Excelsior Quartet (1920 – 1932), Monarch Jubilee Quartet (late 1920’s), Norfolk Jubilee Quartet (1917 – 1942), Silver Leaf Quartet of Norfolk (1919 – 1979) and the Golden Gate Quartet (1934 – present).  In more recent times, area Gospel quartets like the Vocalaries of Newport News, the Southern Hummingbirds of Suffolk, the Peerless Four and the Singing Larks of Suffolk have kept the music going.  Reverend Boone entitled this concert “A Legendary & Historical Black History Celebration featuring the Legends of Gospel” so we viewed this as an extension of many years of great Hampton Roads Gospel harmony.

We arrived in Chesapeake the night before the concert and turned on the car radio to hear Luther Barnes (Sunset Jubilaires) talking about the concert.  Later that evening we got to meet Reverend Boone in the lobby of our hotel.  The next day, the Reverend Boone provided a bus to take us from our hotel to the church where the concert would be held.  Our friend, Frankie Davis (The Golden Gate Quartet and Mighty Stars) and Frank’s mother rode with us.  Arriving at the church, the building was already crowded  with parishioners and singers.


Reverend Brenda Boone, Pam & Charlie Horner


Charlie & Reverend Boone


Rev. Boone & Pam


Pam getting off the bus at the Holy Light Church in Portsmouth


Holy Light Church, Portsmouth
 

Before the Gospel music began, we spotted Brother Joseph Wallace of the Sensational Nightingales.  We gave “Jo Jo” a photo taken of him in 1948 when he was a member of Silveraires (pre-Sensational Nightingales).  Jo Jo exclaimed that he was just a teenager then!  He pointed out and named each person in the photo.


Charlie & Sensational Nightingales' Brother Joseph Wallace

 

Our first impression was how well organized this event was for such a large endeavor. The band members each had their own equipment set up so there were only small gaps between groups.

The Reverend Boone started the program with a prayer and introductions.  The main M.C. for the event was Pastor Melrick Bogier.  He’s the pastor of the Virginia Beach Worship Center and is on the radio at WGH-AM (Star 1310).  Pastor Bogier’s website is www.melrickbogier.com  He did a great job keeping the long program moving and ministered to the attendees as well as being Master of Ceremonies.  In addition to Pastor Bogier, Steve Alexander and Amelia Simmons also did some of the M.C.-ing.
 

Charlie & Pastor Melrick Bogier, MC for the concert
 

Fourteen-year-old Kimberly Colona of Accomack County (on Virginia’s Eastern Shore) started the program.  It was amazing to hear such a powerful voice from Kimberly.  She has a promising future as a gospel singer.


14-year-old Kimberly Colona

 
The Chosen Ones followed.  They were three young teenage men wearing sweaters, jeans and bow ties.  The group from the Suffolk area sang acappella.  If this is an indication of Suffock’s young talent, the area has a bright future.  The Chosen Ones were very impressive with great harmony renditions of “Heaven is A Beautiful Place” and “Running On With Jesus.”


The Chosen Ones


The Chosen Ones
 

Next we were treated to two inspirational acappella soloists.  Gospel vocalist Tracy Edwards-Wright sang a compelling version of “He Cares For You”.  Evelyn Morrisette performed an emotional version of the Gospel standard. “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.  There was much clapping and singing along to Evelyn’s rendition.  Steve Alexander, a Gospel comedian then entertained us with his impersonations of Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton.


 

Tracey Edwards-Wright


Evelyn Morrisette
 

Elder Ronnie Harper & The Harmonizing Echoes, six gentlemen from Chesapeake, Virginia, dressed in grey-blue plaid suits with red vests sang next.  The group sang three songs, ending with the popular track from their latest “Real Love” CD, “I Want To Be Real.”  The song had everyone out of their seats clapping along.  For more info on the Harmonizing Echoes, visit their myspace page,
http://www.myspace.com/theharmonizingechoes.
 

Elder Ronnie Harper & the Harmonizing Echoes


Elder Ronnie Harper & the Harmonizing Echoes


Harmonizing Echoes
 

The Rev. Boone’s sister Amelia Simmons sang “Soon I Will Be Done With The Troubles of the World.”  She ministered through word and song displaying a dynamic and powerful voice.


Amelia Simmons

 

Up next were the mighty Word Singers from Portsmouth, Virginia.  The group consisted of eight singers smartly dressed in bright orange uniforms, some of whom also played instruments.  They kept the energy high, opening up with “He’s Blessing Me.”  The Word Singers have been singing for the past 29 years.  They did three songs including a stirring “Anchored In The Lord.”  For more on the Word Singers, visit their myspace page, http://www.myspace.com/thewordsingers.


The Word Singers

 

The Word Singers


The Word Singers


The Word Singers
 

Minister Paul Boone and the Mighty TempleAires sang next.  Dressed in red jackets and black pants, the Mighty TempleAires started out with a great vocal harmony version of the Blind Boys of Alabama’s “I’ll Always Be In Love With God.”  From there they moved up tempo with a stirring rendition of “Operator.”


Minister Paul Boone & Mighty TempleAires


Minister Paul Boone & Mighty TempleAires


Minister Paul Boone & Mighty TempleAires


Minister Paul Boone & Mighty TempleAires


Danny Hill and Group Determination opened up with “He Will Answer.”  The vocal quartet from Portsmouth had great singers and they also had a nice band backing them.  Their second number was a powerful “If You Move I Will Follow.”  We really enjoyed this group.


Danny Hill & Group Determination


Danny Hill & Group Determination


Danny Hill & Group Determination
 

We were then treated to a great solo rendition of “I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand)” by Maurice Yancey.  Sister Amelia Simmons then gave witness to how the Lord had changed her life.


Maurice Yancey
 

The next group, the Voices of Christ, gave us more fabulous harmony with “Doctor Jesus.”  The group is from Suffolk, Virginia.  The quintet had sage green suits with black shirts.  The lead on their second song, “Just Hold On,’ displayed a magnificent falsetto tenor voice.


Voices of Christ


Voices of Christ


Next we were treated to a solo by Sister Mattie Wood of Suffolk, Virginia.  Sister Wood is a member of and represented Reverend Brenda Boone’s Higher Praise Community Choir.  We also know of Sister Mattie Wood for her recordings for the Pinewood label in 1975 ("Maybe You," "Something Inside Me").  Before she sang Sister Wood mention she was the founder of the Gospel Travelers.  She sang “This Joy I Have (The World Didn’t Give It To Me),” a song she once recorded for Pinewood.  For more info on Reverend Brenda Boone’s Higher Praise Community Choir and how to sample and purchase their CD, visit http://www.cdbaby.com/revbbathpcc.


Sister Mattie Wood.  Pastor Bogier on right.
 

One of the groups we anxiously awaited was Van Jones and King David’s Harp.  We were familiar with their recent “That’s Heaven To Me” CD and on the way to the church, we mentioned to Frank Davis that we loved the group’s version of “Seek, Seek And Ye Shall Find.”  By coincidence, members of the group were Frank’s cousins.  Van Jones & King David’s Harp do a mix of traditional and more modern Gospel harmony songs.  Their CD is one of the best Gospel harmony CD’s of recent years.  King David’s Harp opened with an acappella version of “The Lord’s Prayer,” similar to that done by the Swan Silvertones in the 1950’s!  The quintet then asked where Dr. Horner was and said they were singing the next song as a request for him.  Of course, the next song was “Seek, Seek And Ye Shall Find” and it was spectacular!  The group closed with another fine cut from their CD, “I’ve Come Too Far.”  For info on Van Jones & King David’s Harp’s recent CD, visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kingdavidsharp


Van Jones & King David's Harp


Van Jones & King David's Harp


Van Jones & King David's Harp


Van Jones & King David's Harp's
New CD, "That's Heaven To Me"


Frankie Davis sang next.  We got to know Frank as the tenor of the world famous Golden Gate Quartet, but the Portsmouth native sang lead for the Soul Stirrers before that.  When singing Soul Stirrers’ style, his voice is often compared with that of Sam Cooke.  Dressed in a pink uniform, Frankie Davis started with a Soul Stirrers standard, “God Is Standing By.”  In a real audience pleaser, Frankie sang an emotional “A Change Is Gonna Come.”  We understand the song has become a tradition at Reverend Boone’s Black History Month celebration concerts.  Frankie’s backup band and vocalists, the Mighty Stars, contained some familiar faces including his cousin, Van Jones.  By the way, Frankie Davis has a great new CD out called "Glory Bound Train" that contains some great sides including "A Change Is Gonna Come."  Frankie's MySpace page can be found at http://www.myspace.com/frankiedavismusic


Frankie Davis & the Mighty Stars


Frankie Davis


Frankie Davis


Frankie Davis & the Mighty Stars
 

The Sensational Nightingales are truly Gospel legends – one of the greatest and most influential Gospel vocal groups of all time!  The group was formed in the early 1940’s and is still going strong thanks to the mentorship of veteran singer Brother Joseph Wallace.  Brother Wallace, now 83 years young, has taken his evangelist song ministry all over the world.  Brother Wallace opened with a prayer.  The Nightingales then began a rendition of “Every Promise In The Book Is Mine.”  The Nightingales were indeed sensational!  Their songs included “He’s Still Working Miracles” and “Standing At The Judgment.”  Introduction of the group members revealed that Horace Thompson had also been with the group a long time (49 years).  The Sensational Nightingales are still one of the top Gospel groups around and we felt privileged to witness Gospel music history in person.


Sensational Nightingales


Sensational Nightingales


Brother Joseph Wallace
 

With all the Gospel groups and soloists we’d seen so far, it seemed like things couldn’t get any better.  But two of the biggest groups in Gospel music were yet to come.  Damon Little and Nu Beginning were next.  Damon Little and Nu Beginning began in 2000 in Baltimore and are now considered one of the top Nu Wave Quartet Gospel Bands in the world; the current trend of Gospel music.  Blessed with a fabulous band as well as a vocal group, Damon Little had an energetic set, concluding with his popular song, “Do Right.”


Damon Little & Nu Beginning


Damon Little


Damon Little & Nu Beginning
 

The final group of the concert was the ever popular, Luther Barnes and the Sunset Jubilaires.  Luther Barnes and his group are largely credited with keeping Gospel quartet singing alive in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Born in Rocky Mount, NC in 1954, Luther joined the Barnes family group, the Sunset Jubilaires.  Though the group has been together 35 years, Luther has taken them to new heights.  Luther and the Sunset Jubilaires did not disappoint anyone.  They were great, harmonizing to all their well known songs like, “It’s Your Time.”  Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires myspace page is http://www.myspace.com/lutherbarnesthesunsetjubilaires.


Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires


Luther Barnes


Luther Barnes & Sunset Jubilaires


Sunset Jubilaires' Haywood Barnes & Pam after the concert


Charlie & Luther Barnes
 

The entire concert ran for over six hours non-stop.  It was a concert to remember – sheer bliss for the Gospel world and an extremely enjoyable education for us.  Our sincere thanks to Reverend Brenda Boone, the singers and all those who made us feel so welcomed.  We look forward to future Reverend Boone Gospel concerts in the Hampton Roads area.


Soloist Kimberly Colona & Pam


Group Determination's Danny Hill with Charlie & Pam


Evelynn Morrisette, Frankie Davis and friend


Frankie Davis & Charlie

 

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