Spiritual Gifts to Mark 30th Anniversary with April 5th Community Concert
The Spiritual Gifts Gospel Chorus will celebrate its 30th Anniversary with a community concert on Saturday, April 5, 2014, 4 p.m., at Cleveland’s New Joshua Missionary Baptist Church. A reception will follow the concert. The church is located at 11200 Miles Avenue, and Rev. Walter Humphrey serves as pastor. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.
Spiritual Gifts performs and teaches others about the music of the historic African American church. Each member brings a wealth of talent, training, and performance experience to their work. Among the singers are several individuals who trace their public performances in a Cleveland State University-related ensemble to a Black Aspirations Week Gospel Choir that presented its debut concert in 1984. CSU alumnus Nathaniel Williams Jr. served as pianist/director for that choir, Messengers of Joy (a subsequent student community ensemble), the first Spiritual Gifts Gospel Choir (founded in 1994), and An Evening of Gospel Music at Severance Hall in 2003. Kevin Gibaldi, another CSU alumnus, served as Associate Director for the Messengers of Joy. In 2009, David Manning Thomas, also a CSU alumnus, directed the Spiritual Gifts Ensemble in its Community Open House performance at Severance Hall, and in December 2011, CSU alumna Beverly Brown served as Choir Master for the group’s “Colors of Christmas” performance with the Cleveland Orchestra. Spiritual Gifts was also part of the September 2012 “Harvest Time” Concert at the Mount Zion Church of Oakwood Village, Ohio. On January 21, 2013, the choir returned to Severance Hall for a second Community Open House performance, with Pastor Nathaniel Williams, Jr. serving as Music Director. In September 2013, Spiritual Gifts also performed on the “Come Sunday @ 70” Duke Ellington concert at Trinity Cathedral.
CSU alumna Lana Miller serves as the president of Spiritual Gifts and the director of the Voices of New Joshua. Miller was also the project coordinator for New Joshua’s May 2013 live concert recording in Cleveland State University’s Drinko Recital Hall. The audio cd from that recording will be released at the April 5th reception at New Joshua.
Spiritual Gifts works in collaboration with CSU’s Initiative for the Study of Religion and Spirituality in the History of Africa and the Diaspora (RASHAD), and Dr. Regennia N. Williams is the founder and director of Spiritual Gifts and RASHAD. The April 5th concert is the second in RASHAD’s “Concerts Around Cleveland” series. For more information, call 216-523-7182.