Saint Mark AME Church Cathedral Choir
Let The Children Sing: The Cathedral Choir
"Why hasn’t this been done before?"Producer: Michael E. Thompson
album release date: summer, 1999
It’s a question that often gets asked after coming
across a concept so relevant and so timely. So it was with electricity, such was the
case with gravity. And there’s the same reaction to this project, entitled Let The
Children Sing: The Cathedral Choir, the second of two projects in
Dramatic? Perhaps. But it’s hard to overstate the importance of a
child, and this is a
project that fills an incredible void in Gospel music, since it reaches them in a way
that is entirely on their level, while never stooping to condescend.
The visionaries behind the project are Minister Michael E. Thompson and his wife,
Gerry Thompson. Michael wears the producer's hat and handles musical direction, while Gerry writes
the songs and directs the choir.
This is not a CD that emphasizes prodigy talent or showcases precision-drilled
diction or vocal finesse. And that’s just fine. The talented and very young Floridean voices of
the Saint Mark AME Church Cathedral Choir have put their predominantly unison
voices together to sing God’s praises with a sincerity of heart and a pureness of
spirit that is inspiring to child and elder alike. Sure, the labored hours of rehearsal
and serious dedication are abundantly evident, but technique never gets in the way
of their enthusiasm avoiding an all too easy trap that is the bane of some
The rhythms are simple, but infectious, backed by a band that includes guitar maestro
Jonathon DuBose Jr.. The lyrics present profound
concepts that are geared towards
a child’s understanding. Case in point “Don’t Be Afraid”. The song is a
beautiful introduction to personal communication with Jesus,
set to a rollicking carousel vibe. Then there’s “This Little Light of Mine”,
which takes a gentle approach to establish the importance of “shining my
little light for Jesus”.
Check out the church worship tune, “What They Say”. The lyrics recall the
verses in Revelation which describe the praising of God by the angels and
saints with choruses of ”Holy, Holy, Holy”. The song structure
strongly encourage sing-along participation. It’s a cut which displays
a marvelous simplicity of worship, introduces reverence, and is certain
to catch the ear of all who hear.
Another standout is the invitational
“Inherit the Kingdom” with its appealing
island rhythms. Other cuts run the gamut from traditional to funky, and include
selections appropriate to both Black History month and Christmas.
But the real kicker to this CD, and what takes it over the top, is the
interactive accessories included. The creative coloring book comes with a
and has African-American
relevance in the scenes and characters it presents. The whole package is lovingly assembled and
assists in making the album come alive through
action, play and thought. A music book is also available, allowing
the music to easily be taught.
Thirteen tracks strong, this unique concept of a project is well worth
investigating. Too often the heart and mind of the child is easily forgotten
as we become adults. How refreshing to see otherwise.
reviewed by Stan North —
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