Statues called centennial markers welcomed parishioners from outside of the New All Saints Roman Catholic Church, located at 4400 Liberty Heights Avenue as people gathered Sunday, September 29 at 3PM. The occasion was the fortieth anniversary of the New All Saints Roman Catholic Church Choir.
Founded in July 1973, the choir still contains six of the original fifteen members, who have been singing since its inception, when they were under the leadership of William 'Bill' Cummings. Those original six include: Shirley Baker, Catherine Dorsey, Lorna Brice, Marjorie Dorsey, Reginald Allen and Lawrence Barber. Each of the charter members was presented with a medallion later in the service.
This has not been just a local endeavor for the group. Over the years, they have traveled internationally to England, France, Austria, Germany and Switzerland. They even performed twice at Italy's St. Peter's Basilica. Additionally, from 1989-1993 they performed five concerts at Baltimore's Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. In 1975, the choir released an LP album which contains many of the members' favorite selections.
The concert-goers were buzzing as they crowded the church and spilled into the balcony's overflow section. As they were greeted, the choir had taken position to enter the sanctuary. Clad in basic black regalia, the choir, which now numbers over forty and continues to grow, filed up the church aisle in ark-like fashion, two by two.
The concert started on a solemn note when, after prayer, the names of deceased choirmembers were called in memoriam. Then the choir, under the leadership of Andre Briscoe, took the congregants on a journey of sacred music from three periods 1973-1989, 1990-2005 and 2006-present.
The repertoire was vast and melodious and touched each genre of sacred music. Songs included:
- 'O Give Thanks to God'
- 'Since I Laid My Burdens Down'
- 'Keep So Busy Praising My Jesus'
- 'He That Hungers'
- 'Worship the Lord/Can't Stop Praising His Name'
- 'My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord'
- 'I Don't Feel Noways Tired'
- 'Praise Him' (a participatory song much like Call and Response)
- 'Be Grateful'
- 'The Center of My Joy'
- 'Order My Steps'
- 'Total Praise'
- 'God and God Alone'
- 'I've Been Buked' (beautifully sung in acapella style)
- 'Upon This Rock'
- 'Amazing Grace/He Looked Beyond My Faults'
- 'He Keeps Blessing Me'
- 'Ave Verum Corpus'
- 'This Train'
- 'And He Blessed My Soul'
The choir was accompanied by various instruments which included bongos, an organ, bass guitar and drums. Percussive musicians were: Dominique Scott, Brandon Downs, William Glascoe, Greg Topolski, Gerald White, Hugh Downs, Aubrey Know, Dionne Downs, Sidney Downs, Briana Downs and Lawrence Barber.
The spirit of reciprocity was evident as a freewill offering was collected to benefit the training of the youth and young adults of the church.
The dance ministry showed their moves as they performed to 'He Wants It All'.
One lady was overheard to remark about the length of the nearly three-hour concert, but she added, "It was worth every minute."
The concert was followed by a reception as parishioners fellowshipped, ate and mingled with choirmembers.
The choir had performed another good work to completion.Judging from the smiling faces all around, everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves immensely.
The pastor of the New All Saints Roman Catholic Church is Father Donald A. Sterling.