Author Archives: Bob Marovich

Isaac Cates & Ordained to Participate in First-ever Vox Virtual Online A Cappella Festival

From Classical Movements: Vox Virtual is a first-of-its-kind online a cappella festival, August 22-29. It will bring together musicians representing cultures and traditions from around the world for a week-long program of free streaming concerts. The very unique part of the festival is each concert will be livestreamed free across all participating ensembles’ Facebook pages through cross-posting. In other words, when an artist or presenter posts a live video, it mainly reaches their audience. However, by having multiple pages going live with the same performance, the audience size increases substantially. It is a new model rather than simply sharing someone ...

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Safer Singing During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: What We Know and What We Don’t

By Bob Marovich Dr. H. Steven Sims forwarded JGM a link to a fascinating article in the Journal of Voice, a publication of The Voice Foundation, to which he was one of several contributors. Choir directors, music ministers, and others in the business of training or managing singing groups will find the article instructive, even if there are still, alas, no definitive answers. As the executive summary states: “This paper is intended to provide guidance based on what we know: the best available data, analyzed and scrutinized by a panel of experts in the medical, behavioral and basic science world ...

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RIP: Sheila Burton, Mother of Half Mile Home’s Todd and Terence Burton

(Akron, Ohio) Todd Burton and Terence Burton, two-thirds of the contemporary gospel group Half Mile Home, mourn the passing of their mother, Sheila M. Burton, from complications resulting from breast cancer on Monday, August 3rd. They report: “The Burton Family is deeply saddened with the untimely passing of our beloved matriarch, Sheila Burton. Nothing in the world quite like a mother’s love, and we are grateful for all that she meant to us and the valuable life principles she instilled in us. We are convinced if ever we needed the Lord, we need Him now more than ever. “While facing ...

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RIP: Leo Coney (Violinaires, Gospel Classics)

By Bob Marovich JGM learned from multiple sources of the passing of Leo Coney, a quartet singer formerly with the Violinaires and the Gospel Classics. He transitioned to glory on August 2 around 5:00 p.m. Coney was one of the original Violinaires. The quartet was formed in 1952 in Detroit, Michigan, by Coney, Isaiah “Lil Shot” Jones, and Wilson DeShields. Arthur “Bob” Beatty, who served with the Heavenly Gospel Singers and the Sensational Nightingales, was another early member. According to Beatty, the Violinaires sought initially to replicate the sound of the Heavenly Gospel Singers. Eventually, however, their emphasis on treble ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 3, 2020

“God’s Power” Minister John Taylor Jr. John Jr. Gospel Productions, Inc. By Bob Marovich Minister John Taylor Jr. recorded this song in 2016, but it sounds as if it was recorded 50 years earlier. “God’s Power” is a reassurance to all those who are sick, especially Taylor’s mother, whose illness inspired Taylor to write the song. The sweet country melody comes from the southern gospel tradition, but Taylor’s expressive vocals and the background singers have gospel quartet stamped all over them. Born in Peoria, Illinois, adopted through Catholic Charities, and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Taylor is the founder of John ...

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Elder Arlester Washington & the Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir – Thank You

Elder Arlester Washington & The Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir Thank You Time Now Records (2020) By Bob Marovich On the morning of April 9, 2019, Elder Arlester Washington was involved in a two-car accident that claimed his life. The tragedy devastated Lexington, Kentucky’s Now Faith Worship Center, where Washington was pastor. It also stunned the gospel music community. In addition to being a church leader, Washington had had a career in professional gospel music as a member of the Gospel Crystals and the Chicago Gospel Cavaliers. He had traveled with the Caravans and Jessy Dixon, and in 1990 founded ...

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All Nations Music – Come Alive (EP)

All Nations Music Come Alive EP RCA Inspiration (release date: July 3, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Dr. Matthew L. Stevenson III needn’t worry about his sacred music bona fides. Stevenson’s great-grandfather was the Reverend Elijah Thurston, founder of Chicago’s historic 44th Street Baptist Church, which produced many pioneering gospel singers and musicians. Thurston was also one of Mahalia Jackson’s favorite preachers. Stevenson’s great-grandmother, commanding gospel vocalist Ora Lee Hopkins, was a member of the Willie Webb Singers, the original Caravans, and director of the city’s New Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church choir. While acknowledging and respecting his family’s roots in ...

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RIP: Richard Wallace of the Mighty Clouds of Joy

By Bob Marovich JGM was saddened to learn from Debra Ligon and Libra Boyd’s post that singer and guitarist Richard Wallace of the Mighty Clouds of Joy passed away Monday, July 27, 2020. According to essays by Opal Nations, Richard Edward Wallace was born June 9, 1940, in Austin, Texas. He and his brother Lee O’Daniel migrated west to Los Angeles and, in 1956, joined the Stars of Bethel, a quartet that included cousins from Texas who had moved to LA ahead of them. The quartet later changed its name to the Stars of Bethlehem and cut an album for ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 27, 2020

“Jesus, Let Us Be One” Roscoe Robinson Savoy Records (original release date: March 1983, reissue 2020) By Bob Marovich “Problems all around us, everyone has an answer,” Roscoe Robinson rues. Seeking the true solution, the gospel and soul singing star not only reaches back for the Word, he also reaches back more than three decades into his own song catalog. On “Jesus, Let Us Be One,” originally released on his 1983 Savoy solo album He’s the One, Roscoe prays for unity in His name “and in your love.” Starting out slow and introspective, the song picks up steam courtesy of a ...

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“Love” – Donnell Russell & Free Worship

“Love” Donnell Russell & Free Worship feat. Jai Reed, Tonya Boyd Cannon, Cory Ricks & Caren Green The Rite Note Ent. (release date: June 5, 2020) www.donnellrussell.com By Bob Marovich Donnell Russell & Free Worship’s “Love” is a crossover single in lyric and melody. To a quiet storm R&B arrangement, the singers remind listeners that “when all hope is gone,” where there is “injustice and hatred,” love is the answer. The inevitable rap interlude portrays life without love. Short but smooth and brimming with talented featured soloists, “Love” is a song written with today’s problems in mind. It offers the ...

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