Now with Live From Hawaii, Dr. Panion has set his sights on something a little different. GOSPELflava.com spoke with the maestro to find out a little bit more...
GOSPELflava.com: This new project, Live From Hawaii, comes out of Word of Life Hawaii in Honolulu. How did you get connected with the Word of Life family?
Dr. Henry Panion: My family and I attended Word of Life first during a six-month stay in Hawaii while I was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii. I was just drawn to this ministry with a strong emphasis on the the arts and media.
Dr. Henry Panion: Simply put, I felt that the world needed to be exposed to this powerful ministry and have an opportunity to be blessed as my family and I had been.
GOSPELflava.com: Can you describe the differences in production styles for a Gospel Goes Classical project, versus a church worship project such as this one from Word of Life?
Dr. Henry Panion: Gospel Goes Classical was truly a "magnum opus." With a large orchestra, choir, band, and soloist all performing live, the emphasis is on making sure that the performances are as flawless as possible and that all is captured in the recording. For many reasons, not the least of which is expense, it is not as easy to gather all these forces for retakes, etc. With Live From Hawaii, although many of the tracks are captured in a concert setting, the goal was to create a more polished studio recording sounding project, accentuating more of the contemporary "flava" of today's R&B, Hip-Hop, and Praise & Worship.
GOSPELflava.com:What similarities and differences do you see with worship and music in the Hawaiian culture, compared to mainstream American gospel music?
Dr. Henry Panion: American Gospel music plays such an important role in today's worship services throughout the world. On Live From Hawaii, it's beautiful to hear the fusion of indigenous Hawaiian practices along side those that may be more commonly expected. When one combines the freshness of these new sonorities with the open and free expression of praise and worship, one may ask "why isn't church like this everywhere?" It a "Beautiful Thing!"
GOSPELflava.com: Can you share any future projects you have lined up?
Dr. Henry Panion: I have numerous symphony concerts scheduled across the country, a Christmas record with American Idol winner Ruben Studdard, a hymns project featuring Birmingham Chief of Police Annetta Nunn for the YWCA's domestic violence programs, creating a new Gospel Goes Classical show, and expanding the roster of artists on the Audiostate 55 Entertainment label.
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