A spring concert at Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church wowed those lucky enough to be present and made the news. Read here:
Written by Karen Harris Brooks for the Pittsburgh Courier
It was a frigid evening in the city of Pittsburgh on March 15. However, inside Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church, there was a warmth that emanated throughout the congregation. The standing room only crowd was witness to “Undaunted,” the 2017 annual spring tour of the world renowned Spelman College Glee Club. The sanctuary overflowed with love, inspiration and a distinct spirit of pride. It was definitely a moment to relax, reflect and rejoice.
The prestigious college choir, comprised of beautiful young African American women, rendered a performance fit for a queen. From the classic black dress to the white pearls adorning their necks, the fashionable ladies delivered a myriad of harmonious octaves and varied genres. The awe-inspiring rhythm ranged from a blend of classical operatic to reminiscent soulful sounds, oftentimes combining an old beat with new age contemporary style. It was a night of poise and professionalism, achieved through undaunted perseverance.
From Stevie Wonder’s creation of “Love’s in Need of Love” to the chic and sassy version of senior Brooke Joynes’ Bohemian Rhapsody, it was a captivating two-hour production. The inspirational, thought provoking “A Choice to Change the World” left the crowd in awe at the dedication of the leaders of tomorrow. Standing true to their own convictions, the message of the talented choral group resonated throughout the hallowed walls. If one’s “Soul Has Been Anchored in the Lord,” it becomes easy to “Steal Away,” all the while realizing that one “Can’t Give Up Now.” The foundation of strength on which they stand is based on awareness that they must “Depend on God,” understanding fully well that He will provide a “Bridge Over Troubled Water” if they only “Keep the Faith.” At the end of the evening, a standing ovation was extended to the incomparable Spelman College Glee Club in exchange for an evening of inspiration.
Pittsburgh native Mikaela Brown, daughter of Mike and Sonya Brown of Hampton Township, joined the singing group in her freshman year at Spelman. A graduate of The Ellis School, Mikaela Brown is currently a sophomore and student of philosophy. The pride of her parents is evident when discussing their daughter’s character, which includes her “love for Christ, her individuality, and her deep concern for others.”
Her mother pointed out that “Every freshman must do community service hours at Spelman.” Now a sophomore, the young lady who grew up singing in the various Rodman choirs, “continues to volunteer at the same food bank which was once a requirement.”
Continuing, she speaks of the God-given gifts that are fully claimed by her daughter, emphasizing, “Mikaela has a heart to help those in need.”
The professionalism and discipline of the choral group is attributed to Spelman Associate Professor of Music and esteemed Director Kevin Johnson, D.M.A. Johnson’s extensive dossier is a composer’s dream. He is also known throughout the country for his choral workshops, master classes, seminars, and retreats for music educators and churches. The gifted artist has also been commissioned to compose several notable works, including his powerful, “A Choice to Change the World” by Spelman College. The accomplished musician is also the owner of Lion and Lamb Publishing.
Assistant Director and Accompanist Brittney Boykin received her Bachelor of Arts in music from Spelman in 2011. The former classical piano student continued her studies at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J., and currently serves as a faculty member in the Spelman College Music Department. Her recent composition of “We Sing as One” was commissioned to celebrate Spelman’s 133rd anniversary in 2014. Boykin is also the owner of Klavia Press.
It was evident that the members of the Spelman Glee Club were gifted far more than extraordinary voices. In pursuit of a variety of studies ranging from music and drama to international studies and sciences, these confident ladies are determined to change the world, as they stand strong in their convictions and remain proud of their heritage. These young women will succeed, because, without a doubt, they are “Undaunted.”
The whirlwind spring tour continued to Washington, D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia and South Carolina before returning to Atlanta.