03/03/13 — 100 voices, orchestra to perform Monday in Goldsboro

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100 voices, orchestra to perform Monday in Goldsboro

By Special to The News-Argus
Published in News on March 3, 2013 1:50 AM


Faith Christian first-graders, from left, Emily Strickland, Alli Weisiger and Lilly Bailey scream their approval for a fellow classmate's all yellow outfit during the "Yellow Day" assembly at the school. The assembly was part of a weeklong fundraiser for Floydie Harris, father of two Faith students, who was recently injured in a truck accident.

It's an example of Christian unity and cooperation, says the Rev. Edwin Jewell.

The North Carolina Baptist Singers & Orchestra will perform in Goldsboro Monday evening but not at a Baptist church. Instead, the concert will be held at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

That's because no Baptist church in Wayne County has a stage big enough to accommodate the full-blown orchestra and the 100-voice choir, said Jewell, who is the music minister at Madison Avenue Baptist Church.

The First Pentecostal Holiness Church has such a stage, plus seating for a large audience, and it readily made its facilities available, Jewell said.

The gesture not only makes it possible for the musicians from throughout North Carolina to present one of their six yearly concerts in Goldsboro. It also shows the ecumenical nature of the concert, said Jewell. "It's not just for Baptists but for everyone."

"This is a really big event," said Jewell. "People travel for miles to see and hear the Baptist Singers & Orchestra, and we're excited to have one of the concerts so close to home."

The choir includes five singers from Wayne County. They are Beverly Blackwelder of Mount Olive and Rick Pridgen, Mike Saviak and Jewell and his wife, Elisabeth, of Goldsboro.

The performers are some of the most talented members of North Carolina's Baptist churches. Many, like Jewell, are music ministers. The performances are a ministry of the Baptist State Convention, although a few of the singers and musicians are from other denominations.

They gather for an annual spring retreat for their primary practice session and come together for other rehearsals during the year. Their half-dozen yearly concerts are sought after by cities throughout the state. Monday night's concert will be the first one in Goldsboro in 16 years.

Jewell said, "It is a thrill, both musically and spiritually, to play and sing with this group of talented church musicians. The entire day of rehearsal on the day of the concert is a spiritual experience.

"We have the advantage of living with the music longer and allowing it to sink in deeper than what most in the audience will experience. But the biggest thrill is to see an audience obviously moved to personally worship God through the music we present. Worship of God is what it is all about."

Jewell said the program will include a variety of sacred music, from ancient to traditional to contemporary -- both instrumental and choral and from a capella to full orchestral accompaniment. The group was formed more than 30 years ago as the Singing Churchmen. The name was changed as more women became music ministers and joined the group.

Monday's concert will begin at 6:45 p.m. First Pentecostal Holiness Church is on Wayne Memorial Drive where it crosses the Martin Luther King Expressway.

The concert is free. An offering will be taken to support the troupe's mission projects.