Gospel voices to ring out at National Building Museum

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Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

Under the Corinthian columns and Roman arches of the National Building Museum's Great Hall, 40 members of the Washington Performing Arts Society's Children of the Gospel Choir will gather and raise their voices in celebration of gospel music, as well as other genres of choral presentation on Sunday. The concert is free and open to the public.

"We are in one portion of the hall, a great space [where] the acoustics are lively," said Kathy Brewington, assistant director of education and director of gospel programs at WPAS. "We will be accompanied by our three-piece Gospel Band -- drums, piano and bass guitar."

The choir, which currently consists of close to 100 voices, was founded in 1993, and over the years, students have treated audiences to a repertoire emblematic of their musical versatility.

Additionally, the choir collaborates with noted music directors throughout the region to develop performance quality as well as disciplinary skills.

Onstage
Children of the Gospel Choir
Where: National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Info: Free; 202-272-2448; wpas.org

The training serves them well. Recent performance highlights include the National Prayer Service for President Obama at the Washington National Cathedral, a 2009 holiday celebration for U.S. military families and encore performances on NBC's "Today Show."

"The kids work very hard, and they love to get together and sing for the various events," Brewington continued.

Sunday's performance highlights a varied program of spirituals, as well as contemporary and traditional selections. Conducted by Michele Fowlin, assistant director of the Choir, these pieces include "I'll Make the Difference" by Moses Hogan, "Safe in His Arms" by Milton Brunson, "Smile" by Kirk Franklin and a rollicking version of "Joyful, Joyful."

Brewington notes that auditions are necessary every year as the choir loses its seniors each spring. Many who have graduated return to mentor and give back to the program.

"This is an experience [audiences] will never forget, and they will feel very much a part of what's happening onstage," she said. "We want the audience to stand, to dance and sing along if they know the words."

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Marie Gullard

Special to The Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner