Hope For Haiti Concert (Feb, 2010)

Feeling the sense of loss and an urgency to help the people suffering from the after effects of January 2010's earthquake in Haiti, Reverend Charles Jenkins of Chicago's Fellowship Baptist Church put in motion a plan for local area Chicago ministries and the gospel community at large to lend a hand and have a hand in the fundraising efforts.

Rev. Jenkins enlisted the services of Reverend Senator James T. Meeks, pastor of the Salem Baptist Church of Chicago and gospel's Donald Lawrence and Ricky Dillard to assist in the endeavor. The end result was Chicago Hope for Haiti, a benefit concert and telethon held on Monday, February 8th, 2010.

A record crowd of over 6,000 converged upon the House of Hope on Chicago's far south side for an unforgettable night of music, spoken word, comedy and fellowship.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery of the Hope For Haiti Concert

The evening opened with music from Pastor DeAndrae Patterson, followed by words of exhortation from Bishop Larry Trotter which segued into a rousing rendition of "The Lord is Blessing Me Right Now" from the combined choirs of Chicago's Sweet Holy Spirit and Destiny Worship Center directed by Ricky Dillard.

The choir fire continued with the combined efforts of Chicago Mass, New Direction and Joshua's Troop which rocked the house with "God is My Everything". Vanessa Bell Armstrong performed the latest single from her album, The Experience, but it was her reprise of "Peace Be Still", backed by Donald Lawrence's Company (which served as one of the backing band for the evening), that brought the house to their feet.

Pastor Marvin Sapp gave the audience a smidgen of his perennial favorite "Never Could Have Made It" (just enough to whet the crowd's appetite) before moving into his new song "The Best In Me."

The evening seemed to have a theme of "sing your hit without your duet partner", and Karen Clark Sheard was first up to the task singing "Wait on the Lord" (from the Donnie McClurkin Live In Detroit project) backed by Chicago's Mark Hubbard and the Voices. Karen handled the song so effectively that everyone forgot it was a duet with what's-his-name (pause for laughter here). Allow me this opportunity to elaborate, if you saw the performance of this song on the Stellars last year, that was simply mediocre compared to this one. Karen Clark Sheard sang HERSELF HAPPY to the point that she "walked the dog" across the stage. It was left to Dr. Bobby Jones to put the house back together.

Jazz saxophonist Cole and rapper/activist and Chicago native son Common contributed their talent to the over 3-hour program. Other notable performances included Lalah Hathaway ("Don't Forget to Remember"), Byron Cage ("I Will Bless The Lord/The Presence of the Lord is Here") and Donald Lawrence ("Back to Eden" prefaced with "Hang On In There" —uh huh, I am sure you didn't think I caught it now, did you?) plus an old school tribute to Walter Hawkins.

On hand to lend their support and peppered throughout the audience were Chicago legends The Barrett Sisters, the Queen of Gospel Albertina Walker, Soul Children of Chicago founder and director Walt Whitman, Lemmie Battles, Kim Stratton, Kingdom Records' recording artists The Brown Sisters, Jamie Simond and Malcolm Williams.

Pastor John P Kee brought the evening to a close with (Fred Hammond's) "They That Wait".

The broadcast community was also well represented with appearances by comedian George Willburn, Power 92's Shawn Knight, Inspiration 1390's John Hannah, Angela Martin and Effie Rolfe, and local television news commentators Allison Payne (WGN), Leanne Trotter (WMAQ /NBC) and Jan Jeffcoat (Fox).

— reviewed by Gregory Gay

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