Tag Archives: percy gray

JGM Pick of the Week: September 19, 2016

“I Give You Praise, Lord” Chicago Mass Choir From the New Haven Records CD I Give You Praise (2016) www.chicagomasschoir.com On their latest single, “I Give You Praise, Lord,” the celebrated Chicago Mass Choir delivers P&W with P&D (power and drama). The song begins with the sopranos singing delicately, like a praise team, and opens like a flower when the key changes.  From there, the song builds to a sonorous strength. All the while, longtime Chicago Mass songwriter and producer Percy Gray lifts each line for the choir’s response and assent.  The semi-a cappella segment at the end rounds up any ...

Read More »

LaVarnga Hubbard Calls On Her Chicago Mass Choir Family for “Worthy”

By Bob Marovich Lady LaVarnga Hubbard, known as the Duchess of Gospel Music, has been a member of the Chicago Mass Choir since it was the Ecclesiastes Community Choir, under the leadership of the late James C. Chambers. Her lead on Chicago Mass’s “Call Him Up” has ensured the song a place in the choir’s repertory. So when it was time for her to release solo music, all Hubbard had to do was call up her extended Chicago Mass Choir family. That’s what she did for her latest single, “Worthy.” “Worthy” was written especially for her by Grover Lafayette Simmons, whose ...

Read More »

Dr. Feranda Williamson: Chicago Mass Choir is “Unapologetically Gospel.”

By Bob Marovich Its fifteenth album, Live XV, is still impacting gospel radio, but the Chicago Mass Choir is preparing for the future by re-signing with its former label home, New Haven Records. “We were with New Haven before,” Chicago Mass Choir President and CEO Dr. Feranda Williamson told the Journal of Gospel Music. “We had a hiatus after our last project, Live XV, four years ago, and we decided to continue our partnership.” The first order of business for the renewed partnership was to release a new Chicago Mass Choir single, “Thank You, Thank You Jesus,” to radio. “A ...

Read More »

“Duchess of Gospel” LaVarnga Hubbard Has Better Coming

By Bob Marovich Gospel music has had its share of fathers and mothers, kings and queens, princes, crown princes, princesses, godfathers, thunderbolts, wonder boys, and boy wonders, but as far as I know, only one duchess: Lady LaVarnga Hubbard. When Hubbard opens her mouth to sing, she channels the best of gospel’s traditional church-raised no-nonsense female shouters. Born in Chicago, LaVarnga (pron. luh-VARN-juh) Hubbard was nine years old when she began singing for Christian Doctrine Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Rev. Herman Billingsley. She joined Chicago Mass Choir when it was still called James C. Chambers and the Ecclesiastes ...

Read More »