I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a religious man in the traditional sense. Oh, I have my beliefs and I consider myself very spiritual, but in terms of discussion, that is usually where I stop.
That, however, has not stopped me from marveling at and being awestruck by the spiritual power capable of being generated by groups of people who congregate in houses of worship.
For me, perhaps the most powerful music experience I ever had was the first time I experienced a live gospel choir. I was MCing at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the first act of the Sunday morning that I was working was a local gospel choir from nearby Seaside. I sort of stumbled by the stage, on my way to get my morning coffee, but then suddenly, I was somehow completely stopped dead in my tracks as I experienced a wave of sound and emotion wash over me that was unlike anything I had ever encountered. This choir seemed literally harnessed together, charging toward the heavens with their leader surfing a sea of flowing robes and cresting voices. I had no words.
I somehow ended up interviewing the leaders of the choir for my radio station right after they got off stage and I remember standing there with my fellow host and music aficionado Pete Coates and both of us looking at each other astounded and saying “did that really just happen? Were they really that good?” We both, still in somewhat of a state of shock (or euphoria), readily agreed that it indeed did and was.
From that day forward, I added Gospel to my list of musical joys, and still, to this day, when I’m in the right kind of mood on a Sunday I’ll slip in a CD of some older, more traditional Gospel like Mahalia Jackson or The Five Blind Boys of Alabama, or I may reach for a more modern compilation CD I have called M2K Gospel 2000 , which features a great, well-recorded mix of both traditional and new Gospel artists like Kirk Franklin & God’s Property and Gospel Gangstaz.
Here’s a video of one of the songs on the M2K CD. Settle in and listen to it… and marvel at how those background choir singers literally pick you up off of your feet to go with them up that mountain!