Review: Jubilee, Harambee convey joy

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Leah Budson” align=”alignright” width=”587″]Jubilee and Harambee sing "Eveyrbody Clap Your Hands," arranged by Joshua's Troop.[/media-credit]

Jubilee and Harambee sing “Everbody Clap Your Hands,” arranged by Joshua’s Troop.
by Leah Budson

At the end of the night almost everyone in the auditorium was smiling.
Contemporary and traditional gospel, African folk songs and a cappella pieces made up the Jubilee Winter Concert, which occurred Saturday in the auditorium. South’s gospel choir, Harambee, which means “let’s all come together” in Swahili, also performed.
Half an hour before the performance began a small crowd gathered in the auditorium, eagerly waiting for the doors to open. When the concert started few seats were empty. The following sequence of pieces inspired the audience from beginning to end.
The song “Be Like Him” by Kirk Franklin began the show with a crescendo of enthusiasm.
“Jubilee” by music teacher Sheldon Reid, the following song, described finding a place where one belongs. Senior Mia Bracciale sang, “United is how we stand” as part of her solo.
Senior Rebecca Jereza gracefully began “Balm in Gilead” arranged by Moses Hogan while the choir sang gentle harmonies.
Voices sang “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood in slow, beautiful layers, a song which Reid said is a classic that every choir should know.
Next, the Jubilee choir exited with a rustle of floor-length black gowns and silver ties as Harambee entered, the singers wearing blue and pink Kente cloth stoles.
Harambee’s first song, “Chasing After You” by Paul Morton, was more contemporary than Jubilee’s pieces, with a strong drumbeat throughout.
The audience participated in Harambee’s next piece, “Smile” by Kirk Franklin, which had a cheerful call and response. Sopranos and altos sang, “You look so much better when you,” while the tenors and basses responding with a series of “Oh”s.
In “I Will Fly Away” by Hezekiah Walker, Harambee conveyed a message of hope for freedom through its voices, words and sign language.
Both choirs sang “Everybody Clap Your Hands” by Joshua’s Troop. The audience’s rhythmic clapping filled the auditorium.
Intermission began, and as the band played background music an audience member danced on stage–judging by the laughter and smiles, everyone seemed to be having a good time.
Jubilee started the last half of the concert with “He’s A Mighty God” by Reverend Timothy Wright. The song was slow, the choir’s pleasantly overlapping voices matched the joy of the lyrics.
Junior Anna Nemetz began “Friend” by Israel Houghton, singing peacefully of love and friendship.
The air emanated with the power of the choir’s voices in “Speak to My Heart” by Donnie McClurkin, a prayer for guidance.
The next two numbers were sung a cappella, the voices powerful even without instruments. “Instruments of Your Peace” by Kirk and Deby Dearman felt magical as it filled the audience with hope for a more peaceful world. “Voices of Freedom,” arranged by Reid, also inspired hope.
“Hold Me Now” by Krik Franklin, a more melancholy number, left a message that God will be there for whomever needs Him.
The final piece, “Carry Me Home” arranged by Reid and Alexi Paraschos ’04, was sweet and brimmed with faith and joy. Not unlike the rest of the concert, the voices sounded honest and uplifting.
Fine and performing arts department head Todd Young said at the start of the concert, “To share music with others is just about the best thing in the world.” By the last song, an audience member could believe this message with unwavering certainty.