DJ Greg Belson & The Gospel/Dance Connection, Carl Bean & Universal Love & Book Updates
Some news bullets on the New York Community Choir book project.
I hope this message finds you all well!
Since the last newsletter, the fundraiser for the New York Community Choir book crossed the $5000 mark, which is absolutely mind blowing. We still have a ways to go, but we’re on our way and I am so very grateful to every single one of you who have contributed, shared or simply given words of encouragement. All of these elements together make amazing things happen!
One of the amazing things that happened this week was that I had the opportunity to interview the only surviving sister of Bishop William Morris O’Neil, former pastor of Harlem’s Christian Tabernacle and Los Angeles’ Universal Tabernacle and the spiritual father of the New York Community Choir. The first chapter of the book is taking shape and its thrilling to see after so many years of research. Below is a recording of Bishop O’Neil live with the Christian Tabernacle choir and congregation in the early 60s.
I had the opportunity to be interviewed by DJ Greg Belson a few months ago about the relationship between gospel music and dance music, which, of course, gave me the chance to talk about the importance of the New York Community Choir. In a larger sense, though, we discussed the theological connection between these two genres and the importance of gospel artists who have made music that made its way into the club scene. I invoke The Clark Sisters, Tramaine Hawkins, Ricky Dillard, Ann Nesby and share some memories from my youth in the Holiness church! You can read the interview here.
Here’s a sample of Greg’s important work.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the passing of Alahaundra Romeo, a member of Carl Bean’s groundbreaking Universal Love, the New York Community Choir and a choir director at Bishop O’Neil’s Christian Tabernacle and Universal Tabernacle congregations. I met Alahaundra as I was doing interviews for the book and he quickly became much more than an interviewee. He was a keen seer who communed with the Spirit on a deep level. In our last conversation two weeks ago, he called to share a dream with me, with a subsequent word for me. I had no idea it would be our last conversation. I send all my love and deepest condolences to the Romeo and Hall families. Alahaundra, I miss you already. Please hug Brother Arthur for me.
You can hear Alahaundra with Carl Bean & Universal Truth in 1974.