Review by Valerie Medeiros
Photographs by Rudy Lu
The second annual “Gospel Jubilee” at Proctors in Schenectady was a roof-raiser from the start. The Jubilee Mass Choir and the Emmanuel Baptist Church Praise Dancers opened with “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” a traditional song delivered powerfully by the 60-odd voices and band. The choir was rewarded with immediate audience participation, including enthusiastic hand clapping along with the choir. Several energetic young members of the EBC Praise Dancers left the stage and took to the aisles, jumping, dancing, clapping and waving colorful banners, bringing the audience to their feet.
Pastor Annetta Dix-Howard delivered an invocation encouraging all to praise The Lord, and the audience responded resoundingly, “Praise The Lord!” Producer Sara Hill asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, then gave free rein to emcee Mark Thompson, Pastor of the New Day Christian Empowerment Center in Schenectady, and musical director the Rev. Elgin Joseph Taylor Sr. of the Sweet Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Albany.
Soloist Annette Harris joined the Jubilee Mass Choir for “Psalm 145, He’s Greatly to be Praised,” an uptempo number with the church band – two keyboards, organ, drums and a rockin’ electric bass – which set the tone for an evening where worship and performance were a simultaneous experience for both the performers and audience.