In honor of Black History Month, the UR Christian Fellowship and Black Student’s Union planned a concert filled to the brim with local gospel performers.
The Black History Month Gospel Concert 2012 may not have packed the Interfaith Chapel to capacity on Sunday, Feb. 19, but what it lacked in numbers, the audience made up for with sheer enthusiasm. Despite the excitement though, the event did have its faults.
The event was emceed by senior Sharese King, and while she did a decent job of connecting with the audience, there were obvious moments when she was unprepared to improvise, a skill which would have been beneficial because of a few technical difficulties which resulted in dead air.
In fact, before the final performance there was a change in the set-up, which resulted in a little over five minutes of complete silence, which not only killed any excitement that had been building over the course of the show, but also made for an awkward feel within the chapel.
The performers themselves were also a mixed bag, but some were incredible, some were only ho-hum.
Terrancy and LaShanda McCadney, two singers from the community, in particular, struggled to meet the audience’s standards. While the McCadney’s had energy to spare, their vocals were not up to par — which was exacerbated by poor balance between the singers, the music and the drums. This problem persisted through all the performances, and often the drums were so loud it was impossible to hear anything else.
Even with these issues though, some of the groups were excellent. Walter Chatman and the Joyful Noise Experience, a group of local musicians, were very entertaining, though strictly instrumental. It appeared that they expected the audience to sing along, a desire which diminished the performance for any who didn’t know the songs. Nevertheless, the talent of the musicians made it difficult to not be entranced by their skill.
Destiny Generation, a younger group from Faith Temple in Rochester, were also a hit with the crowd. They used more modern music, including hints of techno and rock, and definitely energized the room. However, their performances seemed to last too long, drawing the endings of their songs out until they were completely exhausted.
This issue happened with many groups that performed, which caused yet another problem: the show was far too long. The performances alone lasted three hours, and doors opened a half an hour before that. The event could have benefited greatly from either fewer acts, having fewer songs performed or a combination of the two.
Many audience members left around the end of the second hour, and by the final performance the crowd had woefully thinned. Even with everyone enjoying the performances, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief when the show ended — definitely not a typically desired reaction.
The Gospel Concert was an entertaining evening — however, it could have been much better with a few simple tweaks. Focusing on the best performers, eliminating some of the others and making sure the technology was prepared could have turned a good evening into a great one.
Howard is a member of the class of 2013.