As opposed to the Dee Dee Bridgewater and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Terrance Kelly, the artistic director of Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, urged audience not to dance out of their clothes. Even though fully clothed, the whole church danced, sang and got wild.
I am an atheist and I have never believed in anything besides myself. My visits to church were scarse and always for its cultural value instead of matters of faith. Nevertheless the combined concert Wednesday night of gospel choirs Skruk and Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir at Molde Cathedral blew my mind.
Ever since the absolut harmony of the voices of Skruk started resonating in the incredible acoustics of the church I felt chills and observed goosebumps on my skin. It was the first time ever I have heard gospel music live, so it was a large surprise for me. Whether it was the weight of God finally punishing my sinful soul on my shoulders or just pure enjoyment of the music, I cant really tell. But for certain I could tell that I was stunned by the power of the human voice.
Nevertheless, this prelude could not possibly prepare me for what came after the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir with their live band came on the stage. Their cunning entré executed by joining on the song of the Skruk while walking down the chuch lane towards the stage, caught the audience by suprise. Their first song – Lord, how come me here? – caught the audience by their hearts. Sitting in the front row, I could not hold the tears in any longer. The music was not resonating in the church anymore, it was resonating deep in my soul. It is unbeliavable how the gospel music could preserve and transfer the feeling of desperation and hopelesness from the times of slavery, when this song was composed, up to this day.
After this rather sad and nostalgic beginning the concert kicked off in a more joyfull tone. It was narrated by fairly likeable artistic director and conductor Terrance Kelly who kept urging people to clap, dance, yell and sing along, a behavior probably not so ussual at Molde Cathedral. And surprisingly enough they did. Towards the end of the concert the church resembeled a dance hall more than a religious sanctuary.
All religious content aside, it was an experience unmatched for me. I do get it. Thanks to this concert I do understand the concept of church buildings now. I do get that it is a place where one could go and rest from all the evil of this world and all the problems they might encounter in their everyday life. It is a place where one could reflect upon themselv and be just with, if not God, then feelings and thoughts.