Concert demonstrates musical traditions of slaves yearning to be free

Alexis Jacquett

Alexis Jacquett

GROSSMONT COLLEGE—Gospel music became an avenue of hope for slaves in America. They used stories from the Bible to represent freedom and code names like “Jesus” and “Moses” to represent Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists who helped free slaves through Underground Railroad.

On Feb. 25, Randall Tweed, the director of the Grossmont College Mater Chorale, opened up the Gospel concert.  Tweed introduced Ken Anderson, the director of the Grossmont College Gospel Choir who gave a little bit of background history about Gospel Music and Spirituals. Anderson also gave the audience the “Ok” to be a part of the concert and “shout Hallelujah or Amen if the spirit leads.”

The concert began with the Master Chorale performing three selections of the Spiritual Tradition; “I’m Gonna Sing When The Spirit Says Sing,” “The Time for Praying (Bach Sheep May Safely Graze),” and “I Want Jesus To Walk With Me.” All three selections had a classical rhythm.

Performing in the second half of the concert was the Grossmont College Gospel Choir.  It sang “Call Him Up, Lord,” “We Love You,” “Worship the Lord,” and “It’s A Mighty Good Day.” In “Worship The Lord”, the slaves gave the time of day and direction of escape. According to Anderson the slaves explained they were heading East in the morning to freedom.

The end of the concert was very powerful. Lisa Payton was the soloist. She gave a heartfelt solo expressing how amazing and sweet freedom tastes. This song really explained the accomplishments of African Americans and their road to freedom through hope and faith in America.

This was an incredible concert. It was more than a performance it was a history lesson of freedom. This was exciting for me because this is a part of my culture and background. I have family from where Gospel and Spiritual music originated. This was a celebration for Black History and Music History.

Jacquett is a Grossmont College student, who is taking an independent studies course in Media Communications