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Faith-based organization showcases the arts

Baltimore's Ark Church's Annual Arts Recital Program
Baltimore's Ark Church's Annual Arts Recital Program
by V. M. Oliver-Lawson

The arts play a vital role in the lives of children. It is through the various forms of art (performing, visual, literary) that children can express themselves creatively, while learning artistic discipline at the same time. Sharing in the arts also provides an appreciation for the many different genres that exist.

Monday, April 14, 2014 provided an opportunity for this writer to be a part of an Annual Arts Recital at Ark Church, 1263 E. North Avenue. The program lasted for approximately ninety minutes and displayed the musical talents of the students who had signed up to participate.

The program was opened with prayer by Melissa Robinson and Scripture (Psalms 150) by Jeffrey Thompson.

The program was filled with members of the next generation demonstrating their musical prowess. Kyndel Harris played "Chant for Band" and "Let's Go Band" on the clarinet. Lauren Shirley played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy' on the piano. She later entertained the congregants with an Israeli National Anthem, "Hatikvah" on her saxophone. Chimee Ngozi played works by Willard Palmer, Morton Manus and Amanda Vick entitled "Concert Time", "The Inspector General" and "Irish Washer Woman" on the piano. She was accompanied by her instructor, Chanel Chandler.

Cameron Bessick, showed off his trumpeting skills by playing George Handel's "Aria Con Variazioni". Collin Shirley, also a trumpet player, performed a familiar standard, Luther Presley's "When the Saints Go Marching In". Brandon and Bree Johnson, performed a Vocal duet with Edwin Hawkins' "I Love You Lord Today". Jahbari Burnett, on the piano, played a medley of "A Minuet for Mr. Bach's Children" and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" from the Ninth Symphony.

The friends and family members who had gathered were enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy every moment.

The program was organized by church members Talya Shirley and Sandra Kay Biles. The emcee for the program was Celeste Cunningham.

Marcus D. Smith, the Minister of Music at Ark Church, in his remarks said, "We would like to thank everyone for supporting our annual arts recital. Years ago, we started the recital to provide a venue and opportunity for our church members and the community to participate. We here at Ark Church support the arts. The recital provides an opportunity for growth, development and above all, creativity. We would like to encourage each participant to keep God first. The sky is the limit. You can learn multiple genres of music. Continue to practice, practice."

At the end of the program, the pastor of Ark Church, Bishop-Designate J.L. Carter spoke about the value of the arts and how the arts saved his life.

It was refreshing to this writer to see an emphasis upon the arts by a different type of institution, especially at a time when school budgets do not always allow for this aesthetic form.

The church office can be reached Tuesday - Friday from 9:00AM - 5:00PM. Its website is

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