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May 3, 2013

Divine bluegrass shines


Another selection is “You’ve Been Blessing Me” recorded by the Reed Temple Choir.

“It has a swing-jazz beat that’s going to get the audience on its feet,” Criss said.

The Bluegrass Gospel Project and the choir will combine voices on “Oh, Mary, Don’t You Weep.”

“Another one is called ‘Pass Me Not,’ written in 1989 by Douglas Miller. It’s a spin-off of ‘Pass Me Not, Oh Gentle Savior.’ He’s still around. He has a nice, deep-rich baritone voice not traditional for a gospel lead. Most had high tenor voices. He had this baritone voice that commanded the audience,” Criss said.

A contemporary selection is “Awesome,” written by Charles Jenkins. 

“People who know this song will be excited. By the time we’re done, the whole hall will be excited,” he said.

The choir’s male soloist is Learie Nurse.

“He’s run the Praise Team for three years. He’s going to sing ‘Awesome’ and several other songs. He made a couple rounds with ‘American Idol.’ We’re really trying him to go for this other show called ‘Sunday’s Best,’” Criss said.

Female soloists Joy Che and Melissa Campbell will do a duet, “Full and Complete” by Walter Hawkins. 

“It’s not a song that everybody can do. They have those big broad voices,” Criss said.

Gospel Fest 555 has more than a few surprises, including Kurt Carr compositions.

“His songs seem to be very contemporary, but he was one of the background singers for James Cleveland. That’s why his work is part of this,” Criss said.

The program opens with “Great God, Great Praise.”

“It’s a high-energetic song. The choir is going to dance in the aisles,” he said.

Bobbie Criss (his mother) ends the concert with “They Got The Word” by the Mississippi Mass Choir.

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