Photos Courtesy of: Ken Hoskins and Farra Strickland

On Friday, January 26, 2007, Pastor Marvin L. Sapp hit the stage to record his latest album, “Thirsty,” on the gospel powerhouse label Verity Records.

“A timeless voice, unparalled anointing, and a word for such a time as this. This record is sure to have a special place in gospel music history” – Stellar award winning artist Myron Butler

“The gospel industry needs this; the musicians along with Myron Butler really make this recording something you don’t want to miss!” – Terrance Jones personal assistant to Pastor Marvin Sapp

“One of the most incredible worship experiences ever.” – Drummer Calvin Rodgers

The elegant and beautiful Lady Malinda Sapp provided a warm welcome to all in attendance. She encouraged us to loosen up and move around a little and I intended to do just that!

To start the night off Pastor Sapp enlisted his Lighthouse Full Life Center mass choir, under the very capable direction of crowd favorite Mr.Tyreece Guyton. (I see pastor in this man’s future!) The LFLC Mass choir almost stole the night with their chilling rendition of the Donald Lawrence hit, “Matthew 28.” It’s no secret why Sapp trusted his choir to stir things up first.

Grand Rapids native Ken Reynolds was the next highlight of the night. Reynolds, who is the praise and worship pastor at the mega-church, Resurrection Life, located in Wyoming, MI, is signed to Central South with a major distribution deal. After Reynolds and his worship finished, it was apparent that the atmosphere had been saturated for worship.
Industry notables in attendance included a slew of Verity Execs including Jeff Grant and Monique Headley. Also on hand was Gospel-Centric recording artist Ray Bady, local announcers Dione Boles, of Kalamazoo’s JOY 1560 AM, and the newly established 91.9 Power FM, and Robert S. from Grand Rapids’ WJNZ 1140 AM, The Pulse of the City. There were also two busloads of announcers from the Chicago Gospel Announcers Guild including President Dennis Cole and announcer Darryl King. All roads led to Grand Rapids that night, as Detroit’s own Carl B. Phillips also made the trip West from Detroit.

Evangelist Sandra Riley was also in attendance, and with her powerful and anointed voice, Sandra introduced her cousin, Pastor Marvin Sapp!

Sapp’s children; Marvin II, Mikaila, and Madisson Sapp, appeared on stage with a radio listening to songs from Sapp’s previous recordings. The cute skit was set up to introduce Pastor Sapp, his new material, and how far he has come in the industry. The skit helped me to remember the staying power and longevity Pastor Sapp has had in Gospel. This makes his 7th solo album. WOW!

The awesome Pastor and Psalmist started the night out with the tunes, “Magnify Him” and “Power!” These songs provided a new and uplifting sound. The musical arrangements and strong vocals provided by Sapp are sure to make these two songs definite repeats in your CD player.

Sapp was backed by an all-star band that included super producer Aaron Lindsey (Israel & New Breed, Martha Munuzzi), drummer extraordinaire Calvin Rodgers (Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Vashawn Mitchell), keyboardist Buddy Strong (Usher, Israel & New Breed), percussion genius Javier Solice (Kirk Franklin), bass guitarist Derek “Swol” Ray (Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary), lead guitarist Tim Stewart (Kirk Franklin), and Sapp’s personal organist Matt Brownie.

With a musical staff like this it was hard for me to focus on anything but the band! However, Myron Butler gracefully added the vocal balance necessary to compliment Sapp and his all-star band. Myron Butler along with Levi, and two members of Israel Houghton’s New Breed provided crystal clear and seemingly perfect background vocals. Believe me when I say they were on point! I spoke with Myron and complimented him on the job, assuring him that he made it almost impossible for any of the vocals to be duplicated (sorry praise teams and church choirs).

For as long as I can remember Pastor Sapp has been a worshipper and he was nothing short of that on this night. The evening was a very emotional one as Sapp explained dealing with the loss of his biological father ninety days ago, the loss of his musical mentor sixty days ago, and the loss of his spiritual father the week of the recording.
I admire his ability to even sing, let alone complete a professional recording! Sapp is not only a strong man, but also a man who was very transparent and sincere. All in attendance almost had no choice but to join in worship as Pastor Sapp led the way with songs like the Jonathan Dunn penned song, “Holy.” The melodic instrumentation along with the POWERFUL lyrics makes this song one to watch for. Plus it’s a Jonathan Dunn classic–nuff said! There were two other songs that stood out to me. “Thirsty,” which serves as the title cut on the recording, had me tapped into the spirit of God. This song is AMAZING! I guarantee that when the album is released this song will be a classic right away. I was also moved by “Never Would Have Made It,” which was written by Pastor Sapp. The timing of this song was perfect on this night. As a writer it’s my job to notice audience reaction, and as Pastor Sapp ministered this particular song almost everyone was in tears worshipping. I got the feeling, based on my own situation, that this song was a song that all of our spirits needed at that very moment.

This was a night when I was proud to be a Grand Rapids, Michigan resident. Pastor Sapp has an anointing and calling on his life. I have personally watched and admired his career from afar for a long time and his musical growth is evident. Look for this breakthrough project from Pastor Marvin L. Sapp in July of 2007. I can assure you that this will be a CD that will not only enhance your relationship with God, but aid in developing a heart for Christ. It will minister to you and your situation. Congratulations to Pastor Marvin Sapp and the Verity Staff on a very successful and Spirit-filled recording.