On January 28th, 2016, a group of singers from around the Memphis area came together for an honor choir. These students had never sung together and barely knew each other. Yet, after just 45 minutes of sharing ideas, improvising, and uniting under a common story, they created this new work, “One Voice.” It is amazing how music can bring us together.
Dove- and Grammy Award-winning Richard Smallwood has impacted the gospel industry through decades of influence and a unique musical style that melds several traditions. A composer, pianist, arranger, vocalist and choral conductor, he creates landscapes of worship music that range from peaks of energetic urban gospel, jazz and guitar-driven soul, to meandering valleys of piano-hosted praise sessions. A career steeped in firsts, he was a member of the Celestials, the first gospel choir on the Howard University campus, and founded the Richard Smallwood Singers, who were the first African American group to perform in the Soviet Union. Mentioning accolades like chart placement and gold records seem to pale in comparison to honors he’s received from the Kennedy Center and the White House and his instillation in the Smithsonian Institute. He’s authored countless hymns that have become contemporary standards, such as “Center of My Joy,” “Total Praise,” “We’ve Come to Praise Him” and “I Love the Lord.”
Traditional Samoan Medley Wins NZ Choral Competition
Who would have thought we’d ever hear people who aren’t Samoan screaming out “Cheehoo” and singing these sacred songs to perfection! Performing a traditional Samoan arrangement, including hymns, titled Mauga Ole Atu Olo by Ieti MJ Leu’u. Choloration, a combined choir of Westlake Girls and Westlake Boys High School won the top prize at the New Zealand Choral Federation (NZCF) Choir Festival.