Detroit Gospel Showcase and Concert
Photos Provided by: Derryl L. Reed
Reported by:

Dateline: Saturday, November 5, 2005

Detroit was in the house for the Detroit Gospel Showcase and Concert (DGSC), presented by State Farm Insurance and Executive Producer Derryl Reed. The concert and competition was held at Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit, MI. The emcee for the evening was Dr. Deborah Smith-Pollard from FM98-WJLB. Part of the proceeds from the evening went to support the survivors of Hurricane Katrina (one survivor was present in the audience), the Museum of African American History, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the Foundation for Academic and Entrepreneurial Excellence. Just as the slogan says, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”

Preceding the competition, a team of judges listened to over 100 CD’s, videos and cassette tapes from the various choirs and groups, with talent representing not only Detroit, but Ypsilanti, Pontiac, Kalamazoo and several college campuses as well. The evening was filled with praises and worship being rendered “by some of the best gospel choirs in the Metro-Detroit area” as boasted by the press release from DGSC. The choirs competed for cash prizes: $1,000 for 3rd place, $2,000 for 2nd place, and $3,000 for 1st place. Youth groups competed separately with prizes of $250 for 2nd place and $500 for 1st place.

Change Youth Choir from Detroit World Outreach

To add more excitement to the evening, the Grammy nominated and Stellar Award winning Rance Allen Group gave a spirited-concert that was “the icing on the cake.” Before Rev. Rance Allen ministered in song, he joined gospel singer Dr. Dorinda Clark Cole, her aunt Evangelist Moss, and a niece to accept a Legacy award presented to the family honoring Cole’s late mother, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Dr. Cole said that she was so proud of the work her mother had done and that she was thankful for these types of awards, which keep her legacy alive and on going. Rance Allen spoke of being a product of Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and how she developed a special love for him, allowing him to preach at many of her programs. He had a humorous story of how Dr. Clark had asked him to come in and learn to play the organ, but after her daughter Twinkie Clark came in and played, Dr. Clark never requested him to play the organ again.

During the earlier portion of the competition, Michael and Regina Winans blessed the audience with their songs of praises to God. Then the competition began, and it was fierce.

The choirs in the youth category were: the Eastern Michigan University Gospel Choir; Lift Up Your Hands Ministries (signing/mime) out of Belleville; Kristi, a soloist; the ELW Production “A Time To Laugh”; the New Testament Praise Dancers; the Soldiers 4 Christ Drill Team from Welcome Baptist Church in Pontiac (Pastor Douglas Jones); The Greater Zion Temple Youth Chorale, a group made up of all family members who sang a capella; St. Stephen AME New Generation of Praise; and Change. The Greater Zion Temple Youth Chorale were the 2nd Place winners and Change Youth Choir from Detroit World Outreach (who were inspired by the late Bishop Jack Walace) won 1st Place. Congratulations to both groups who sang and gave God the highest praises.

Change Youth Choir from Detroit World Outreach

One of the youth groups sang, “My body is not my body, I choose to give Him praise, my body is not my body, it belongs to the Lord…,” a line which seemed to set the theme for the evening. Dr. Smith-Pollard said, “God uses all languages to speak to His children, be it hip-hop, sign-language and all…”. She said that God speaks to His children in the language they are accustomed to hearing to get His point and requirements for their lives across to them. Dr. Smith-Pollard went on to say that if you look at the churches that are growing or overflowing, they usually have a large youth department where the youth can express themselves (decently and in order) to the Lord.

The choirs competing in the adult category were: Robert Hawkins & Unified Praise from Kalamazoo; the Sisters of Zion, who were nine blood-sisters; Revelations, a community choir from the Shrine of the Black Madonna; Chris Jones & Word of Praise (Chris Jones is a radio personality on WMUZ’s “Joy & Jones in the Morning”); Prayer Temple of Love; the Voices of the Temple, who sang a capella; the True Love Inspirational Choir of True Love Baptist Church on Tireman; the Detroit Lutheran Coalition Mass Choir, who sang a medley of songs; the Wayne State University Gospel Chorale; and the Burning Bush Mass Choir of Burning Bush C.O.G.I.C. in Ypsilanti.

Burning Bush Mass Choir

Each group came out with an enthusiasm to praise the Lord and gave God all the honor and glory due Him. The groups’ apparel ranged from coordinated ensembles and hats to the most magnificent choir robes this writer has ever seen. Voices rose in song and harmony with the competition appearing more like a regular church service or evening program where everyone’s purpose was to please God. Mr. Derryl Reed then announced the winners in the adult category after the judges labored to come to a conclusion; 3rd Place went to Chris Jones and Word of Praise; 2nd Place went to Prayer Temple of Love, and 1st Place went to The Burning Bush Mass Choir from Burning Bush International Ministries COGIC under the pastorage of Pastor Don W. Shelby, Jr. Burning Bush had on the most fabulous choir robes and they sang this writer’s soul happy.

1st Place Winners: Burning Bush Choir (and their robes!)

The finale came with the Rance Allen Group blessing us with such favorites as “He’s a Miracle Worker,” “I Belong to You,” “Make Me Wanna Dance,” and my all-time-favorite, “Something About the Name Jesus,” along with a medley of some of their other songs, rounding out the evening.

Congratulations to all of the winners and to God be the glory for all that He has done!