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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Brief off-topic post on social and "spiritual" healing: the "One Voice" documentary

Our dear friend Mary Ford invited us to attend the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Holiday Concert at the Paramount in Oakland last night. I'd only been dimly aware of them.

My Bad.

iPhone photo from my seat. I ended up lamenting not having brought my big Sony DSLR guns.

It was stunning, inspiring. As an old washed-up guitar player, I've been around a lot of A-list music and performers my whole adult life. This was every bit the equal. World-class. "Twenty Feet From Stardom?" "Muscle Shoals?" "3 Still Standing?" Add another.

And, the band -- sheesh.
I first came to the Bay Area in 1967. The lead singer in our North Beach bar band, Rick Stevens, went on to be the original lead singer for Oakland's eminent Tower of Power band. I still have friendships from those days. I have great affinity for Oakland.
They've produced a finely-crafted, compelling documentary, which has now begun film festival vetting. They sold a limited pre-release stash of DVDs. Of course, I bought one. Watched it today. Brought us to tears. Mostly tears of humbling joy.

"One Voice delves into the lives of four Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir members and artistic director Terrance Kelly. This film illuminates a group of people from diverse faiths, races, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, and lifestyles, all with a common goal: to bring joy and inspiration to the stage through black gospel music. By coming from a place of inclusion and acceptance, choir members are able to bridge their differences, embracing the celebrations and challenges that arise along the way.

Gospel music is a rich tradition born from the African-American spiritual during America's slavery period and the civil rights movement. Slaves used gospel to cope through the misery of bondage and civil rights activists sang gospel music to urge action and find courage. In the midst of a country that again finds itself grappling with issues of race, gender equality, and intolerance, a group in Oakland, California, continues the rich historical tradition of using music to promote peace, love, and acceptance.

With a rich history that spans three decades, OIGC has inspired audiences all over the world. The choir delivers its world-class music across the globe, thrilling concert attendees at renowned venues such as the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Molde International Jazz Festival. Yet it stays true to its Oakland roots, lifting the spirits of the homeless, elderly, and inmates throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. From its humble beginning to OIGC’s 30th anniversary celebration on the historic Paramount Theatre stage, this choir continues to circulate musical excellence through the manifestation of One Voice."
The tagline for my friends' band in Las Vegas is "Let the Healing Begin." I got some serious healing last night. Lordy, Mercy!

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