Gospel Sing Continues to Bring “Eternal Praise”

by Tracy Prouty '09

According to Azusa Pacific senior Everson Marsh, “The body is made for praise, it is a natural response.” Nothing was more natural or instinctual than the worship that filled the Felix Event Center on February 7 at the 18th Annual Gospel Sing, themed “Eternal Praise.”

Hosted by APU’s Office of Multi-Ethnic Programs and with APU senior Joel Simpson as the master of ceremonies, Gospel Sing welcomed the incredible talent of students, local gospel choirs, and recording artists, including surprise guest, Grammy-nominated gospel sensation Kim Burrell.
 
Kicking off the night was the dance duo Machine and Jr. Machine Federation followed by Marsh’s original spoken word. Senior Jonathan “J.” Holley took the stage to perform his own gospel rap pieces backed by a company of APU musicians. APU’s Gospel Choir followed, keeping people on their feet and dancing.
 
APU alum Marques Nelson also brought students and alum to help perform his original songs including “Your Grace,” an APU favorite. As the first chords played the audience erupted with cheer and the tone for the night’s endless worship was set.
 
Lorenzo Johnson and the Praizum Community Choir kept the crowd energized by demanding that they “Get Up” to dance and praise. As the choir left the stage, the audience continued to dance prompting the band to play on. Finally, after joining in himself, Simpson helped move the program along to APU’s women’s step team UMOJA.
 
With the Grammy Awards less than a day away, nominee for best gospel performance Kim Burrell took the stage to perform. Noted by many mainstream artists as an influence, Burrell began singing impromptu hymns after being inspired by the night’s energy.
 
Gospel Sing has consistently entertained and moved its audiences in ways that cannot be experienced anywhere else. The power in gospel and in a multitude praising in such a synergetic way could be felt long after the stage lights dimmed.