Let The Children Sing:  
The Cathedral Choir CD - In Stores Now

Saint Mark AME Church Cathedral Choir
Let The Children Sing: The Cathedral Choir

"Why hasn’t this been done before?"

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 the series.

Dramatic? Perhaps. But it’s hard to overstate the importance of a child, and this is a Let The Children Sing:  
The Cathedral Choir CD 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 children's choirs.

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, with lyrics set to a rollicking carousel vibe. Then there’s “This Little Light of Mine”, which takes aDaniel in the Lions Den - a drawing from the accompanying coloring book 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 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace - a drawing from the accompanying coloring bookwith a crayon kit, 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.

Producer: Michael E. Thompson
album release date: summer, 1999
Anvil Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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