Mount Olive choir to have first concert today

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; As the harmonic voices of young men and woman flowed through the walls of Mt. Olive Baptist Church Friday, the choir and its director knew their gathering was more than a practice of melodies.

&uot;Being in this choir, people around (here) have started to notice us (in a positive light),&uot; Ken Johnson, &uot;Praising Him Always&uot; choir member, said.

The community choir is fresh to the Miss-Lou, marking their beginning in March. The 53-member choir, ages 7 to 23, will have their first concert at 6 p.m. today at the church.

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Before practice began, the choir held hands as each member gave thanks to the Lord for family, blessings and just life.

&uot;And I thank you for the gift of song,&uot; one member said.

Johnson, 18, said it is the chemistry of the choir that attracts him.

&uot;We discover new things when (the choir is) together. We bring out the best of each other,&uot; he said.

During practice, young hands waved in the air as sopranos took their key for a group solo.

Stretching their vocal cords, the rest of the choir clapped and cheered until it was time for the next harmonic group to show their stuff.

The choir has done more than raise the bar for vocal points. Director Kejuane Bates said he has grown spirituality through the choir. &uot;(The choir) helps you love people,&uot; he said.

Bates said he gained many friends along the road to this concert. He said one friend, Bernard Riley Jr. (lead keyboard), made a powerful change since he began the choir.

Bates told a story of how one he was riding with Riley and all of a sudden Riley stopped his Jeep and threw all his rap CDs out the window.

&uot;(Riley) said ‘he had no longer need for them, he said he was focusing on God and God’s promise’,&uot; Bates said.

Bates noted that there was difference in singing gospel. &uot;The songs have meaning to them,&uot; he said.

Hearing a familiar song, Bates rushed out of the room. &uot;This is my song, I have to lead it,&uot; he said.

Back to the choir rocking back and forth to the tune of &uot;I Know It Was The Blood,&uot; Bates grabbed the microphone and began to do a solo.

The Mt. Olive willed be filled with more songs and harmonies Saturday night. &uot;We praise Him at all times. (The audience) will leave satisfied,&uot; Johnson said.