A Sound for God’s House
Released June 16, 2014
Available at Amazon, iTunes, etc.
By Bob Marovich
Mark Yandris is a brother from another mother.
Like me, he has Slavic roots and family ties to the Calumet Region south of Chicago. Whereas our family remained in Da Region, Yandris’s family moved to the Bay Area. He grew up in the Gospel Music Workshop of America and his father’s First Apostolic United Pentecostal Church. While other fifteen-year-olds and I were trying desperately to learn a few chords on the guitar, Yandris had already formed his first gospel choir.
His solo album, A Sound for God’s House, pays homage, however indirectly, to his GMWA upbringing. The songs combine the traditional and contemporary just as the delegations of convention choirs do. One of the songs, “Thankful for the Blood,” was taught to the delegates during this year’s GMWA New Music Seminar in Atlanta. “Praise Him in the Dance” is buoyed by a ragtime arrangement, guaranteed to get feet moving and hands clapping.
The album belongs as much to the background vocalists and a variety of soloists as it does to Yandris. And that’s not surprising when you learn that the background vocalists include none other than the Edwin Hawkins Singers of “Oh Happy Day” fame. Indeed, the album has as much of a Hawkins as a GMWA vibe. The fine guest vocalists on the CD include Olevia Williams on “I Am Triumph” and Alison Kelly on “Waves of Glory.”
While many selections are Yandris-penned, he reprises some timeless classics, such as “He Looked Beyond My Faults” and “We’ve Come This Far By Faith,” which gets an uncharacteristically uptempo treatment.
There’s no question that A Sound for God’s House is the sound of Mark Yandris’s heart and soul.
Four of Five Stars
Picks: “Praise Him in the Dance,” “Thankful for the Blood.”