Gospel explosion coming Sunday

Published 12:05 am Saturday, October 31, 2009

On a Tuesday night at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, the building exploded with the sounds of gospel.

Ten area choirs and gospel groups who had been invited to perform in the first-ever Suffolk Gospel Celebration were practicing for the performance this week. Groups navigated the backstage area, filed onto the stage, practiced their songs and filed back off. The halls throughout the building reverberated with the music and voices.

“What we’re doing at the Suffolk Center is trying to find ways to fully involve the community,” SCCA director Paul Lasakow said. “What better way can we involve the community than bringing in the music that expresses Suffolk’s faith?”

A total of 10 church groups from throughout the region signed up to perform in the celebration, which will be held at the center Sunday at 4 p.m. It will be hosted by the Rev. Carl Sweat of Laurel Hill United Church of Christ.

“We found some great groups that could come in and sing their hearts out,” Lasakow said. “We felt there’s really nothing that speaks to community more than local church choirs.”

Most of the groups will sing one song, with a couple of groups singing two songs, Lasakow said. The mass choir will combine at the end of the night for two songs, with “Oh Happy Day” as the grand finale.

“We’re really excited about this,” Lasakow said. “We’re absolutely planning to do it again.”

Lasakow said the performance already is selling well, and he expects it to sell out by the time of the performance.

“We think we’re going to have a full house,”

Tickets for Sunday’s performance are $10 each. Participating churches are Laurel Hill United Church of Christ, Piney Grove Church of Suffolk, Mount Sinai Baptist Church, Piney Grove Baptist Church of Franklin, New Life Suffolk, First Baptist Church of Petersburg, Corinth Chapel United Church of Christ, House of Prayer of Franklin, Stony Branch Baptist Church and First Baptist Church Mahan Street.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 923-2900 or visit www.SuffolkCenter.org.