07/21/06 — Concert a 'gift to the community'

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Concert a 'gift to the community'

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on July 21, 2006 1:49 PM

A mass choir composed of members from several local churches will perform this weekend at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base chapel. The concert, which will be on Saturday at 7 p.m., will feature gospel recording artist Pastor Nancy Wilson, and is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a dinner.

Base Chaplain Ronnelle Armstrong said members of the choir began practicing earlier this week, but added the program is about more than just music -- it's also about giving back to the military town that supports Seymour airmen.

Gospel Music Workshop

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Dwayne Randall, a minister at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Chapel, sings with Earl Nixon Sr., background, as well as other participants in the Gospel Music Workshop and Worship Summit Thursday. The workshop participants will perform a gospel concert this Saturday.

"A lot of people think it's just a choir thing," he said. "Really, it's our gift to the community. So many of these churches have been good to the military."

Armstong added when he was growing up in Mount Olive, he didn't always know what to think about the base. Events like the one Saturday evening are a chance to show civilians the human side of the military, he said.

"When I was growing up, we knew so little about the base," he said. "This exposes Seymour Johnson to the people. Because we're behind these locked gates, these guarded gates, it shows people that we are human beings here in the military."

Armstrong added he also hopes the music will bring people together. During the choir's nightly practice sessions, music is accompanied by teaching and forums about problems facing different congregations throughout Goldsboro and Wayne County, he said.

Armstrong and others at the base chapel encourage residents to attend the concert. Despite the different backgrounds of those performing, the music will bring them together for an unforgettable end product, he said.

"It will be a mass choir of several local churches," he said. "But music is structured so that there are no boundaries to what it can do."

The concert's featured artist, Pastor Wilson, is a Greensboro native where she has served as pastor of the New Beginnings Community Outreach Church since its inception in 1994.

Her career in music has included hosting "Gospel Expo," a television showed that aired on FOX and ABC for some 20 years, recording with several artists including Bishop Larry Trotter and Debra Morton.

Residents interested in attending the free concert and dinner should contact the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base chapel at 722-0315.