Interview With Joe Pace II
Fostering Praise and Worship in the Urban Church
Most will know Joe Pace II from his work with the Colorado Mass Choir. Streaks of praise and worship have always marked his writing, highlighted by his bringing in Fred Hammond into the picture for an extended praise on "We Worship You", from his 1999 choir project, God's Got It.
— interview by Stan North —
While he is still very much involved with the choir, Pace is also keeping busy with a new production deal with Integrity Music.
Eager to spread his praise and worship wings even further, he looks toward satisfying the growing needs of the urban church in particular. We asked him to elaborate on his vision:
"There is certainly a movement and hunger going on [towards more praise and worship]. If there were any 'special needs', it would be in the sense that there have not been many album projects that have focused on praise and worship for the urban church....projects with music that was specifically geared towards the flavor and style of the urban church, and that provide new material, or simply updates of familiar standards, that are singable and suitable for Sunday morning worship service."
"This project [Let There Be Praise!] was created for that purpose: to produce singable, musician-friendly praise and worship music that embraces the styles and flavors of the urban church. It's designed to be a ministry resource tool. As well, both fundamentally and prayerfully, it's designed to be an enjoyable, inspiring, and quality praise and worship album that ministers to the heart of the listener and enables them, through the music, to enter into the presence of God."
It's not an accident that the project veers away from any strong emphasis on a single lead artist. From the cover art down to the solo leads, the focus is corporate and congregational.
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"With regards to lead vocalists, I didn't have many because I truly wanted the focus to be on the music. Music geared towards local praise teams and choirs. I didn't want the project to become focused on the "artistry" of a specific leader. There are plenty of albums out there that do that. I wanted something that the local church could immediately sink their teeth into and take ownership of, and start singing. My goal was to produce a project that says, 'Who is singing is not nearly as important as what is being sung.' It's about the worship."
And yet you can't listen to the album without being distinctly aware of the overwhelming anointing that that some individuals have been given to share with us. Pace describes the impact that both Alvin Slaughter and Kirk Whalum deliver.
"Alvin Slaughter has been such a powerful voice in the area of praise and worship for such a long time, it seemed only fitting to ask for his participation To our delight, he agreed. He was an absolute joy to work with, and he brought such a wonderfully unique anointing to the title song."
"As for Kirk Whalum, I've been a fan of his for a very long time. So after I finally got over the shock that he actually agreed to play on the project, I began to appreciate even more his awesome gift. Kirk played everything so effortlessly. We did several takes and wanted to keep them all. That's really how the instrumental [for the "I Worship You Medley"] came about. There was such an anointing in the room as Kirk played, I felt we had to try to capture that instrumentally [in addition to the vocal cut]. Plus, it allowed us to add a unique element to an urban praise and worship project that there has not been much of. The instrumental actually became a song of meditation, a truly wonderful experience that I pray translates to the listener."
The album begins with an appropriate call to worship from Pastor Joseph Pace Sr. To be able to include his father in this project was a special joy for the junior Pace.
"My Dad pastors the Antioch COGIC in Montgomery, Alabama. He is truly one of the most anointed men of God I know. I know that sounds biased! He's a phenomenal teacher and preacher, and it's been my dream for years to be able to include him on one of my projects, and expose his gift to the nation. His "call to worship" was truly just that. It set the tone for the entire project."
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"I didn't hear what he was going to say prior to the night of the recording, but needless to say, we were all blown away! I know of radio announcers that are playing that call to worship to open up their programs. His participation was certainly a dream come true."
Paces' favorite song on the project is 'We Offer Praise To You'. "I actually finished the song during the week of the recording. It's my personal offering of adoration to the Lord. I'm not asking for 'things' or even thanking Him for all the things He has done. The song simply seeks to worship Him just for who He is. It's a song of humility, reminding me that no matter how many albums I record, it still about HIM! His worship, His Praise!! I am nothing without out Him."
There are already plans for a follow-up project, as Joe Pace Presents... is set to become a series. "We are gearing-up to record the second project in the series this summer, for a winter release date. We'll be going to a different city, that has yet to be determined, and we have plans to add a workshop component before the recording. We'd teach and have substantive dialogue spiritually, practically, and technically about the concepts of praise and worship in the urban church."
"The goal is to take each project in the series to a different city, and audition and use singers from that town, along with my praise team, to record. There is a lot of unexposed talent out there, and there are a lot of ministries and churches out there that are doing powerful and original praise and worship. We want to capture some of that."
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