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The Best Gospel Choirs and Groups in Dallas

Gospel is more than music; it’s an experience. These singers aren’t rock stars, but they can move their audiences with just as much emotion. Dallas is a hotbed for outstanding groups and choirs. These are the top in town.
By D Magazine |

INSPIRED: Soloist Shirley Jones with The Living Sound.










Gospel is more than just a music genre; it’s an
experience. To understand its power, you have to see the singers’
faces, hear the volume of their voices. The music can send chills down
your spine and bring tears to your eyes. Entire congregations jump to
their feet in song, clapping and swaying to the rhythm.

and praise join to stir the soul with gospel music, and gospel choirs
deliver the message. These performers are not rock stars or pop idols,
but they can move their audiences with just as much emotion, prompting
many a “Yes, Lord!” and “Thank you, Jesus!” Whether you’re a faithful
churchgoer or can barely find your way through the doors on Christmas
Eve, gospel choirs can lift your spirits.

Dallas has many
outstanding groups and choirs. From small community church choirs
tucked away in sleepy suburbia to Grammy Award-winning, 200-member mass
choirs to quartets and solo artists, you don’t have to drive far to
find one.

Forget your preconceived notions of church choirs.
Instead of being somewhere out of sight, the organist or pianist of a
gospel choir might be front and center, flanked by a full band,
including horns. Choir members may not be draped in robes; they could
be sporting colorful chiffon ponchos or jeans and white button-downs
with pink ties. A soloist might step out from behind the altar to sing
with fervor, her voice flying high above the chorus.

church isn’t the only place you can go to enjoy the music. As it was
more than 100 years ago, gospel is a Southern folk tradition. Groups
gather wherever there’s a venue. It might be at the local community
center, coffee shop, or Meyerson Symphony Center.

To bring you
this list of the top gospel choirs in town, we asked local DJs and
choir directors to name their favorites. Among the more than 50 named,
five choirs and three groups appeared on almost every ballot. Don’t
wait until Sunday to experience the music: listen to a sample from each
of the Best Gospel Choirs and Groups in Dallas by visiting www.dmagazine.com.

MUSIC DIRECTOR: Pastor Rickie Rush
CHOIR: More than 165 singers; 10-piece band
WHERE: Inspiring Body of Christ Church, 7710 S. Westmoreland Rd. 972-572-4262
WHEN: Sunday services, 7:30 & 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

and music director Rickie Rush likes to challenge congregants to stay
seated during an entire Living Sound performance. They rarely, if ever,
meet that challenge. The 14-year-old choir is motivated by a passion to
make “the word of God come alive through music,” and staying in your
seat during a performance is tough. The music is lively, energetic,
inspirational, and motivational, and Rush pens many of the songs with a
specific message in mind. He wants the music to be “seen, heard, and
learned.” Their CDs, The Living Sound, Volume One and The Living Sound, Volume Two can be purchased at the church store.

MUSIC DIRECTOR: Ken Washington
GROUP: Four singers; five-piece band
WHERE: Local and national venues; see www.thetexasboyz.com for details
WHEN: Jan 21, 7:30 p.m. at Terrell Performing Arts Center (400 Poetry Rd., Terrell. 972-563-4731)

for their blend of traditional vocals with contemporary flavor,
brothers Ken, Cecil, Glen, and Quintin Washington have been singing
together for more than 30 years. For Cecil, the songwriter and lead
singer, the music must have more than just a good beat; it needs to
“reach a person’s soul.” The group—nominated for a 2005 Stellar
Award—performs almost every weekend in cities across the United States.
Their most recent release, Only the Strong Survive, is available at www.amazon.com or www.blackberryrecords.com.

MUSIC DIRECTOR: Adolphus “Bud” Dean
CHOIR: About 45 singers; four-piece band
WHERE: City Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church, 1530 Bonnie View Rd. 214-942-3870
WHEN: Every second and fourth Saturday at 11 a.m.

you don’t see it with your own eyes, you won’t believe that this mighty
choir is composed of young adults. They sing locally and nationally
with the maturity and strength of choirs that have been around longer
than these kids have been alive. Much of the credit goes to Adolphus
“Bud” Dean, who founded the choir in 1996 and in 2003 was awarded the
Youth Director Steeple Award. The choir’s CD, Faithful, is a fantastic mix of full-choir gospels as well as outstanding solo spirituals. It is available at www.dallascitytemple.org.



The Christianettes
Music Director: Alice Loggins
Group: Seven singers; four-piece band
Where: Local and national venues
When: Dec 4, 3:30 p.m. at Community First Baptist Church (3535 S. Westmoreland Rd. 214-337-2744)

Influenced by gospel legend Shirley Ceasar, the Christianettes
adopted her sound and gave it their own spin. Group members have
changed in the 30 years since they started singing together, but they
still perform many of the songs written by original member Corine
Walton. The seven female singers might be the hardest working women in
gospel, performing every weekend, sometimes three or four times. For
more information or to purchase CDs and cassettes, call

First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park Male Chorus
Music Director:
John Sherow-Tatum
Choir: About 100 singers; four-piece band
Where: First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park, 300 E. Phillips St., Richardson. 972-235-4235
The third Sunday of each month during the 10:30 a.m. service; Dec. 4, 7
p.m. at Eisemann Center (2351 Performance Dr., Richardson.
972-744-4600); guest performances at other local, national, and
international venues

From the first notes of the melody, the Hamilton Park Male Chorus
surprises. Classically trained pianist John Sherow-Tatum is the choir’s
music director, and he reworks traditional gospel songs to fit the
choir’s sound. Though the choir has roots in gospel—singing anything
from slow spirituals to uplifting hymns—they adapt to any situation;
they are known to include European anthems and even operatic tunes in
their sets. To purchase a CD, call 972-235-4235.

The Mighty Travelers
Music Directors/Writers: Kenneth Stokes and James Jennings
Group: Four singers; four-piece band
Where: Local and national venues
When: Dec 12, 6 p.m. at Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church (8205 Burton Rd. 214-388-3233)

Thirty years ago, when he was just 14, Kenneth Stokes started the
Mighty Travelers with his cousins. Since then, the sound has matured
from traditional gospel to soulful contemporary with a heavy R&B
influence. Most of their songs are original works, with as much care
put into instrumentation as vocalization. The group performs locally
about five times a year, so don’t miss them when they’re in town. Their
CD, Lord, I Need You, is available at Sam’s Records (3434 Sunnyvale St.
214-375-1376) and His Place (233 W. Jefferson Blvd. 214-948-3653). For
more information, call 214-381-0768.

The Potter’s House Choir
Music Director:
Minister Steve Lawrence
Choir: About 200 singers; seven-piece band
Where: The Potter’s House of Dallas, 6777 W. Kiest Blvd. 214-331-0954
When: The first and third Sunday of every month, 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. services; guest performances at national venues

It’s no wonder that the Potter’s House Choir won a 2003 Grammy Award
for the album A Wing and a Prayer; the music is universal. As choir
director, Minister Steve Lawrence takes great care in selecting music
that reaches a congregation with cultural, economic, and racial
differences. The choir sings potent hymnals, spirituals, and anthems
during Potter’s House services and at national events such as the Lou
Rawls Parade of Stars, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and
the Stellar Music Awards. A Wing and a Prayer is available at www.amazon.com.

St. John Music Ministry
Music Director:
Clark Joseph
Choir: 75-100 singers at each venue, more than 250 when singing together for special events and holidays; eight-piece band
St. John Baptist Church, 1701 W. Jefferson St., Grand Prairie.
972-263-5955; 2805 Market Loop, Ste. 300, Southlake. 817-442-5646;
Nokia Theatre, 1001 Performance Pl., Grand Prairie. 972-854-5111
When: Wednesdays, 7 p.m., and Sundays, 7 a.m., on W. Jefferson; Sundays, 9 a.m. on Market Loop; Sundays, 10 a.m. at Nokia Theatre

Each of St. John Baptist’s five choirs is fantastic individually,
but when they come together to form one mass choir, the result is a
harmonic hailstorm. Their voices resonate in your body and soul. The
majority of their repertoire is traditional gospel, but every now and
then, music director Clark Joseph adds some spice. As a Sunday morning
choir, they are dedicated to music that inspires worship and faith. To
find out more information or to order a CD, go to www.sjbcfamily.com.




minister of music, New Mount Zion Baptist Church

director of music, Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church

program/music director, Heaven 97 FM

gospel announcer, KNON 89.3 FM

director of music and fine art, Potter’s House

gospel announcer, KNON 89.3 FM; pastor Freedom for All Prison Ministries Community Church

gospel announcer, KNON 89.3 FM

gospel announcer, KNON 89.3 FM

gospel format director, KNON 89.3 FM

program/music director, Great Gospel Radio 1040 AM

gospel announcer, KNON 89.3 FM


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