Whitworth’s Exceptional Praise gospel choir performed their third annual spring concert on Saturday, April 28.
The evening was opened by Exceptional Praise director junior Joe Lawyer and was followed by a praise dance performed by his 5-year-old niece, Ruth McCain.
“My dad started me playing drums in church when I was 5 years old,” Lawyer said. “Somebody had to give me an opportunity so I was happy to give my niece an opportunity.”
The evening included performances from past director and Lawyer’s sister Miracle Lawyer, her sister Rakisha McCain who wrote and performed the song “Let Your Glory Fill This Place” and family friend Chelsea Jones.
This is the second year performing with the group for Exceptional Praise choir member senior Delia Garza.
“My favorite song was called ‘Get Ready,’ which was led by Miracle,” Garza said. “It’s an anthem of encouragement. You have to keep going and to not give up.”
Garza led the song “I Will Run” and said she felt blessed to perform with the choir.
“We have such a good group of young women,” Garza said. “We always have a good time when we come together, learning news songs and worshiping together.”
Garza said she appreciates gospel music because it allows people to actively worship God.
“It’s another style of music,” Garza said. “It encourages people to move out of their seats and gets people excited to worship. People enjoy it because it feels good.”
Exceptional Praise’s concert included a performance by Gonzaga’s gospel choir, Holy Fusion.
Kierra Irwin started singing at 16 and joined Holy Fusion last year.
“It was a blast,” Irwin said. “This was my first time visiting the campus but we sang with Joe one time last year at our concert and we had so much fun.”
Holy Fusion performed “Everywhere I Go” and “He Reigns.”
“My favorite songs would probably be ‘I Belong To You’ and ‘Lift Him Up,’” Irwin said. “That one was a jam, you know it had a kind of jazzy flavour to it.”
Irwin said she loves gospel music because of its upbeat rhythm.
“I love the soulfulness of the music, and the message it has,” Irwin said. “I wasn’t always a Christian and I would listen to gospel music even before I was saved. It’s really uplifting and hearty.”
The night of praise had the theme “I Will Run,” inspired by 1 Corinthians 9.
Minister Kevin McCain from Tacoma spoke to the audience about the importance of living a good Christian life and compared it to training for and running a race.
Audience member junior Zach Wilkes said he appreciated the message of the evening.
“It’s important to keep running the race,” Wilkes said. “The race to and for the kingdom of God.”
Wilkes also said he liked what gospel music has to offer.
“I go to church on Sundays but this is a different kind of style of worship, it’s more loud and upbeat,” Wilkes said. “It’s another side of Christ that I don’t get to see much and it was really well done.”
Freshman Eugen Lazarenco said the gospel worship was an amazing experience as it’s so different from Whitworth’s usual style of worship, which he said is more mellow.
“These events are great because they promote culture,” Lazarenco said. “They give a different view on Christianity and obviously they promote diversity, which Whitworth seeks.”
Story and photography by Samantha Payne Staff Writer
Contact Samantha Payne at email@example.com.