As a newcomer to the Wisconsin Gospellers, I was looking forward to singing and traveling to Germany. What I received was so much more. First, the Christian spirit in the group is very alive and well; I really enjoy being with my fellow Gospellers. Second, the music isn’t just for singing at concerts; I find myself singing, humming, and whistling it many times a day, and it always lifts my spirits or gives me strength when I need it. Third, I was blown away by the reception we received while touring in Germany this past summer. The audiences were so attentive and appreciative, and many expressed how the songs touched their hearts. And our hosts in Germany offered an overwhelming abundance of hospitality. With all of the conflict and divisiveness in the world today, it was so refreshing to be with Germans and Americans who want to build friendship and understanding, person to person, with God’s help.
The Wisconsin Gospellers Tour 2016
A Prayer of sacred celebration
Over the past five years,
I, a modest and sometimes timid vocalist,
have experienced the opportunity to sing Gospel music
- to see faces melt from the inside out.
- to feel energy in the room expand to capacity and vibrate stone walls,
- to watch people’s enthusiasm emerge from within —
as they, too, risked moving, just ever so slightly, in their pews, hoping no one is looking,
I have had the privilege of singing before people
who have faced a life of dark turmoil with determination and courage and have survived —
perhaps now a bit cautious, but with hearts of love still beating within.
I have had the honor to realize that all — everyone in our audience and each in our choir as well,
come together with unstated silent questions —
Am I really OK?
Does God really love me?
Does anyone else love me?
Can I love myself?
And while singing, I have noticed
the affirmation this music brings,
the soft assurance of peace that is kinesthetically present,
the activated salve-ation that heals private wounds,
all producing moments of unquestioned, sacred restoration of life and hope,
— testimony to the only Gospel worth celebrating.
In these opportunities to sing I have watched
prayers explode on faces all around the sanctuary,
like camera flashbulbs — the light reflecting joy and comfort and peace —
yes, powerful, effective prayers straight from the heart to the faces of those praying
prayers that connect each, one with the other, in communion.
I have seen strangers stand and move in mass rhythm together as one,
experiencing and expressing the rapidly spreading prayer that is catching — contagious
prayer that crackles with life, love, yearning, harmony — and healing.
My musical prayer — and yours as well,
has been heard by God! — and, has been answered!
We may rest — assured.
We may be — at peace.
Go forward with the confidence that God is still singing
Carry within you the commitment continually to sing in harmony with that voice.
I was introduced to gospel music over 35 years ago. At that time, it changed my life in helping me understand more of the African-American experience as well as introducing me to an exciting and passionate musical re-telling of our faith. In the last two years, singing with the Wisconsin Gospellers has again reignited by enthusiasm for this music. Singing with the choir in Germany in 2016, I realized that this music is universal in its appeal and powerful in presentation. On top off all that, I have gained another community of musicians and friends that share my enthusiasm for gospel music. I am looking forward to continued membership in the group and learning more about this important faith-based and American musical form.