The Nathan Carter School of Music, established in 1994, has produced groups of diligent, hardworking students, over the years, dedicated to the art of music.
So, it was only befitting that on Sunday, September 8, 2013, a capacity crowd of supporters, well-wishers, family and friends came to The New Shiloh Baptist Church at 2100 N. Monroe Street to support an annual concert for the purpose of raising scholarship funds for the school's students.
The concert featured The Community Concert Choir of Baltimore, founded in 2010 under the direction and leadership of Dr. Marco Merrick, a former student of the late Dr. Nathan Carter. According to Merrick, the concert has become an annual event and is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Dr. Nathan Carter, world-renowned for his leadership of the Morgan State Choir.
In addition, the concert was a fitting tribute to the late Dr. Harold Carter, who pastored New Shiloh, one of Baltimore's largest churches, for over thirty years. (The church's current pastor is Dr. Harold Carter, Jr.)
The choir displayed its versatility in the songs presented. The music featured various genres of music, most of which was in the tradition of the Black church, such as spirituals, anthems and hymns, contemporary gospel along with classical selections as well.
The audience was composed of various generations and represented a cross-section of diverse populations, including well-known Baltimore dignitaries. During many of the selections, the congregants could be heard singing along with the choir.
There were a couple of instrumental trios composed of accomplished musicians, Gloria Thompson, James Alston, and W. Patrick Alston, playing the Hammond organ, Grand piano and Allen Organ/Keyboard. Each artist's style differed from the next with distinctive and unique sounds emanating from the instruments they played. A favorite of the audience was a very majestic rendering of The Glorious Medley.
Although this group is known as The Community Concert Choir of Baltimore, they came from other states as well - MA, VA, PA, NC and the District of Columbia. In addition they represented all walks of faith - Methodists, African Methodist Episcopal, Catholics, Presbyterians, Church Of God In Christ, Lutherans and Baptists.
Dr. Marco Merrick obviously enjoyed his various roles in that you could see his excitement and passion for the music exuded in his directorship, mannerisms and style. (This writer could detect the influence of Dr. Nathan Carter's musical style of dynamics as Dr. Merrick conducted and the choir sang.)
Also included in the repertoire was a spoof-like song, Let the Church Roll On, in which the choir sang a capella, to the delight of the crowd, about internal situations inherent in any church.
Rev. Raiza Rahim sang a soul-stirring rendition of I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.
Other songs featured in the concert were: I've Been Buked/Nobody Knows, Inflammatus, Ho, Everyone That Thirsteth, Take Me to the King (as sung by soprano April Davis-Paul), and Lorne Matthews' vocalization of Jesus Promised Me a Home Over There.
At the midway point of the three hour long event, Dr. Delores Winston presented two new and very deserving scholarship recipients to the church.
The concert concluded with a song that moved this writer to tears, It Is Well With My Soul.
Dr. Alethia B. Starke is the Executive Director of the Nathan Carter School of Music. The school was the joint vision and realization of the Carter brothers, Nathan and Harold.
To Dr. Starke, Dr. Merrick and the Community Concert Choir of Baltimore, this was a job very well-done!