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Gospel celebration attracts big crowd

Michael Constantine and Chuck Reed

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Los Medanos College’s 24th Annual Gospel Celebration was a success in turn out and performance quality, attracting nearly a full house to the Recital Hall where guests showed their appreciation with rousing applause.

Music Professor Silvester Henderson stood in front of an audience of several hundred people Saturday, May 5 and explained he loves orchestrating the annual celebration because “gospel is festive.”

The night was filled with exciting musical performances from the LMC Gospel Choir and other local performers, as well as motivational speakers who uplifted the crowd with words of encouragement.

Kayton Carter, an administrator at University of California Davis and founding director of the Center for African Diaspora Student Success — a program that provides tools and resources to support students’ development, empowering them to maximize their potential — told the crowd that “education is the key to the future.”

The LMC Gospel Choir’s joyous program included songs “O Sing Unto the Lord,” and “We Offer Praise.” Both songs were upbeat hand raisers and got the crowed involved not only clapping with praise, but also standing to dance in place with excitement.

“Don’t Cry,” sung by the LMC Gospel Ensemble, brought an emotional response from the crowd, and even a few tears. The song “Why,” sung by the Living More Christian Ensemble and assisted by LMC Gospel Ensemble was warmly received by the audience, some even rising from their seats for an ovation. The number was directed by Richard Hayes of Califnornia State University Stanislaus.

“A Change is Going to Come” provided LMC Gospel Choir member Nuru Boone the opportunity for a solo performance, which brought people to their feet in a roar of applause.

An assortment of other local guest performances included Jeffery Scott from Suisun; New Sons of Mr. Gospel from Young Artists of San Francisco Bay Area; Casey & Erica Pringle from Hayward; Ricardo Alexander, a saxophonist from Brentwood; Rusty Watson & Friends from Oakland; and Shonte Herring, a BET Super Bowl Performer from Oakland.

The celebration wrapped up with a two-song performance by Keisha Renee, celebrity guest vocalist and top contender from the TV Show “The Voice.” A country classic and a gospel favorite were keeping in line with her goal to combine country and soul in her professional career.

“I love coming to events like this to see people and discover talent,” Renee said after the show. “I loved everything, I knew every song.”

Before the concert began, LMC Choir member Yuhe Liahg he felt “a bit nervous,” but it certainly didn’t show during the choir’s dynamic performance.

After the event, Music Department Coordinator Aaron Nakaji, who helped organize the event, said he was thrilled with the outcome.

“It went wonderfully and was well attended,” he said, adding he was especially impressed with Renee’s performance, and was appreciative that she was able to attend and lend her vocal talents to the celebration.

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Gospel celebration attracts big crowd