Yesterday's (March 7)"Concert for Haiti" was a tremendous success. Musicians and poets in the African griot tradition, along with outstanding guest solo artists, performed before an appreciative capacity audience at Harlem’s St. Paul Baptist Church, where the church’s pastor, Rev. Dr. V. DuWayne Battle helped organize Friends of Haiti, a group dedicated to assisting in efforts to revitalize and empower Haiti and its people. Performances were powerful and heartfelt. The Rev. Dr. James Stallings, president of sponsoring organization the Regional American Baptist Churches, was on hand and proved an able pitchman for the cause.
Lead organizer of the event Claude Jay served as Master of Ceremonies and enlisted a broad spectrum of artists from both gospel and popular music genres, including former Oscar nominee Tevin Thomas who along with Jamal Joseph and Charles Mack co-wrote the song "Raise It Up" from the movie "August Rush." The multi-racial Renaissance youth performance ensemble was outstanding and sang James Weldon Johnson’s Negro National Anthem with a diverse group of Asian, Hispanic and African youth exchanging verses. Very few dry eyes were to be found in the church sanctuary.
I found it especially gratifying to add my voice to this great chorus on behalf of alleviating some of the unimaginable suffering taking place in Haiti. The standing ovation and call-back I received for my rendition of Balm in Gilead affirmed to me again that “what comes from the heart goes to the heart.”
Visiting Haitian choral groups were visibly touched at the site of the Haitian flag draped from the interior church balcony in a show of solidarity with the Haitian people as their nation continues its struggle to rebound from unspeakable devastation in the earthquake’s aftermath.
I feel a wonderful sense of assurance that the funds raised by the Harlem “Concert for Haiti” will go directly toward completion of the much-needed emergency medical clinic being built in Haiti by the American Baptist Church’s Mission. I look forward to visiting the clinic in the future. I will report what I find in A New Day in Media.
To donate to the American Baptist Church’s clinic in Haiti or for more information visit ABC’s web site: