This past weekend I was once again a guest soloist for the Sunday Singsation at Apostolic Tabernacle in Merced, California. This church is pastored by my dear friends, Rev. Sam and Shirley Emory. You can visit their church website at www.upcmerced.org. Their music is under the direction of Pastor Mark Yandris who is one of the most phenomenal musicians I have ever known. He is a highly sought after organist/keyboardist especially amongst artists who perform Black gospel music. Mark eats, sleeps, drinks, music. It consumes his life! One of the things I so admire about him, is his willingness to share his talents. He encourages young people to develop musical talents and will push them out of their comfort zone to perform. This quickly causes them to perfect their skills. At the annual Sunday Singsation, there is always some young artists spotlighted who, far from perfect, are given the opportunity to perform under pressure. The concert was well over two hours but I wanted to share some of the highlights. If you will click on the below link, it will bring up the video of the concert. You can fast forward if you don't have time for all the selections. At approximately 20 minutes into the concert, Miss Natilee Abalos plays a violin solo accompanied by her mother. She was recently accepted into the Modesto Youth Symphony and she is also a member of WAY Choir. If you are curious about my singing, I am at 36 minutes. The youth sign team performed a number at 1 hour and 42 minutes. At 1 hour and 46 minutes, James Williams sings. I first met James about 10 years ago when we were both invited to work on a project together. He and his sister, Olivia, are dynamic singers. I hadn't seen James for a few years and it was great to visit with him. This year, Mark had not planned for the mass choir to sing. That was met with strong opposition! :) It just "ain't right" to be at Apostolic Tabernacle and not hear the mass choir! So, at the conclusion, Mark put the choir on the spot and had them come to the stage. I think that was 1 hour and 58 minutes. Then, catching James and I off guard, he asked us to return to the stage to join the choir for the chorus of "Goin' Up Yonder" (2 hrs. 22 min.) which was a fun finale. Saxophonist and recording artist Louis Lenzi was amongst the band adding the "whipped cream and cherry."
Now I have to add what was my favorite part of the entire night. At 1 hour, 14 minutes, the Men's Ensemble sang. They were full of energy and spirit and gave a rousing performance of "All My Help Comes From The Lord." I have to admit, I have been physically and mentally exhausted and wasn't even sure if I should accept the invitation to minister in song but felt compelled in my spirit. Apostolic Tabernacle thought I had come to minister to them but, what they didn't know, they ministered to me. I felt the Lord speak to me as the men sang, "...all of my help, comes from the Lord......thank you, Lord, I thank you, Lord..." Tears welled in my eyes and I lifted my hands and began to thank God for giving me the strength I need. The past few weeks have been stressful, but ALL my help does come from the Lord and I thank Him. Here is the link to the concert.
Singsation Sunday Concert
P.S. A very elder lady was among the worshippers and, if you watch the men sing, you might catch a glimpse of her dancing in the front of the church. She had on a gorgeous metallic gold hat that she danced right off her head. It was so encouraging to see elder saints still "ripping the carpet" in praise to God. In reference to the recent quote I posted, I thought about this elder lady and just imagine she "loves deeply" because she is really "young."