WEDNESDAY, 21 DECEMBER 2011
ST. PETER CLAVER GOSPEL CHOIR
AT ST. LOUIS' CATHEDRAL
After a lively day out on the swamps, handling alligators, we continued our adventure with an evening packed with music. The first concert (yes, we went to two concerts in one evening!) was Gospel music; the second was jazz. See the next post for a report on all the jazz we heard during the week.
So, we went to the justly famous St. Louis' Cathedral to hear the stellar St. Peter Claver Gospel Choir. This was music that made us move, and made us laugh, and made us cry. Well, I cried a bit, anyway. It was a primarily African-American choir, led by a really dynamic woman who also played the piano in addition to directing (for a couple numbers). The songs were pretty much the same, but a kind of "same" that I couldn't really have too much of! It was thick, piled, toothy harmonies in really catchy rhythms (no kidding: Gospel, catchy? sorry). There were a few solos over the thick texture of the ensemble (none of whom were particularly good -- I mean, their voices were mostly very shrill and sounded untrained to my Classical ear, but that's mostly a matter of taste). And there was one real solo, by an enormous elderly man who rendered "O Holy Night" and "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" in a heart-stopping arrangement. He got an immediate standing ovation, as did the whole Choir.
That was a marvelous concert, and the most Christmasy event of the week. No matter what kind of a church it was in, and no matter what kind of a church the singers came from, it was a universally (I think that's OK to say?) worshipful event. Wow. It felt like Heaven.