03/18/09 — Local musicians, singers form gospel group

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Local musicians, singers form gospel group

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 18, 2009 1:46 PM

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The Remnant, a gospel performing group composed of worship leaders from several area churches, was formed nearly a year ago by Roderick Stevenson, front row center.

Several area worship leaders have pooled their talents to form a gospel group and will soon celebrate their first anniversary.

The Remnant, with 15 members representing several different churches, has an age range from a 9-year-old to members in their 40s.

Roderick Stevenson, 29, an ordained minister at Tehillah Church Ministries in Goldsboro, has been writing music for about eight years. It was his idea to create the band.

"One day I pulled together a group of friends, we got together and started working on arrangements of music," he said. "But we always make sure that local responsibilities (in their respective churches) come first."

The group will mark its first year together in May. The members have spent the year learning all original music -- about 95 percent of the group's songs were written by its members -- and working up musical arrangements.

Their performance is a "worship experience," Stevenson said.

"We do some upbeat stuff, some up tempo stuff. But the majority of our concerts are about developing an intimate experience with God. ...

"We all have speaking parts and solo parts so everybody gets featured and they deserve a chance because you never know what kind of opportunities someone will get when someone hears them sing as a soloist apart from the group."

It's a talented bunch, he added.

"They're all great singers, but it's sort of like none of them has ever had the opportunity to do something outside the church community or with choirs so this is a vehicle of exposure for them as well. We are people that haven't been contaminated by the gospel music world. I believe that we have been preserved to take music to people in concert."

In addition to Stevenson and wife Shakena, the group is made up of Corey Jenkins, pastor of Christian Empowerment Ministries in Princeton, and his wife, Elder Bonita Jenkins, the associate pastor; Christian Slocum, a Goldsboro recording artist; Tisha Dredden and Ka-Sheena Ballard, both from Tehillah Church Ministries; Tron Vaughn, a Goldsboro area singer; Cynthia Jarman of Bethany Free Will Baptist Church in LaGrange; her daughter Makayla Jarman, 9; and John Ward or Mt. Moriah Church in Farmville.

Band members include drummer Joshua McDougald and bass player Mike Wilson, both from Tehillah; keyboardist T.J. Wilson, a 16-year-old Princeton High School student; and organist DeJuan Gardner of Saint's Delight United Holy Church in Mount Olive.

The Remnant's first public concert was March 6. And while they regularly perform in church settings or special events, their next public concert will be March 21 at 6 p.m. at Rebuilding Broken Places. There is no charge, but a love offering will be taken.

Stevenson said he has no intentions of pursuing music as a business, preferring to produce their own music and preserve their sound.

"It's hard to find a group of people who have one, sincere hearts and pure motives, and who are able to go places," he said. "We have a social case worker, students, hairstylist, teachers, so it's sort of hard to get everybody on the schedule where they can take off and travel. As of right now, I have decided to provide people with experience, to develop our gifts and skills."

Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be opportunities to release some of their music, Stevenson said.

"We'll see, when we're at the level to produce an in-studio CD," he said. "Until then, we'll use the one from the concert and make those available for the public."

For more information about the group, call Stevenson at 394-0152, or e-mail theremnant2008@gmail.com.

There is also a MySpace page that includes biographies of the members, scheduled appearances and a sample of their sound. Go to myspace.com/theremnant2008.