Dr. Lou Della Evans-Reid featuring Rev. Clay Evans & The Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir
Celebrating the Life, Love and Legacy of Dr. Lou Della Evans-Reid

Chicago, the Gospel music capital of the world, holds the distinction of being the home to some outstanding choirs, both church-based and community wide.

Among the more prestigious was the 300-voice choir of the Fellowship Baptist Church founded by the Reverend Clay Evans. Both Reverend Evans and the choir received notoriety through the church's media ministry on radio and television, and the choir has an illustrious 40-year recording career with albums on Jewel, Savoy and most recently Maple Reddick's Chicago-based Meek Records. The "Fellowship Sound" was skillfully weaved and cultivated by the singers and musicians under the guidance of its celebrated and revered minister of music, Dr. Lou Della Evans Reid.

CD And so it was on the celebration of Lou Della's 75th birthday and 50 years as minister of music that a reunion was held and friends and well wishers gathered to celebrate the occasion. The memories of the weekend were captured on CD and DVD.

Many of the original Fellowship music staff was present for the worship and celebration, including musicians Royal Warren, Michael Shaw, Steve Stewart, Pierre Walker, Bryant Jones, Ralph Evans and directors Reginald McCracken, Ronald McCraken, the late Prentice Smith and Roosevelt Hamilton.

The CD opens with words of appreciation from Lou Della followed by nostalgically stirring renditions of "What A Fellowship" and "The Lord's Prayer". Listening to both numbers takes you back to the many years of the "What A Fellowship Hour".

There are several memory lane medleys on the project. Felicia Coleman Evans dons her impressionist cap leading a tribute to former choir members featuring "All That I Owe", "Oh How Wondrous", "The Name of Jesus", "I'm a Soldier" and "He's My Everything".

The Lou Della Hymn Medley consists of "It Is Well", "Be Still and Know" (which is just too short) and an edited version of the "Hallelujah Chorus". Loretta Oliver capably handles Reverend Evans' theme song, "It Is No Secret What God Can Do".

There are guest appearances by the First Church of Deliverance Mass Choir (an audience interactive version of "He's Been Good To Me" and their theme song, "Jesus Is The Light") and Tyscot artist DeAndre Patterson covering his own "Great Things".

Not to be missed is Fellowship's bonafide sure fire interpretation of "Even Me". The disc would not be complete without a true "Fellowship bump" —not to worry, one ensues at the completion of "New Name in Glory", adding an additional 4 minutes to the 5 minute original track. A heartfelt admonition is given by Delois Honey Sykes as the musicians go for what they know.

This CD is a must-have for every serious gospel music lover and the joy will overflow with each opportunity of hearing the music and message contained therein.

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Production: various
album release date: 2006

— reviewed by Gregory Gay

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