Donald Lawrence champions choirs with Music + Arts Global success

Honouring the last wishes of the great Edwin Hawkins to continue the legacy that his Music & Arts Seminar established back in 1979, Donald Lawrence presented an international audience with his reimagined Music + Arts Global in London, UK from 27-29 April. The event was received with much enthusiasm by hundreds of choir members, choir directors, vocalists and musicians that flocked together for three unforgettable days packed with choir rehearsals, classes and spectacular performances. In between sessions testimonies were shared, old friends were reunited and many new connections established, as delegates from across the United States and Europe plus the UK & Ireland, all came together under the arches of Gaumont State Theatre (Ruach City Church). The first choir session on Thursday night had a surprise visit from Bebe Winans who happened to be passing through London. What are the odds?!

The Friday night Global Choir Showcase hosted by Volney Morgan was a special gift to lovers of choir music featuring ten choirs with a great variety of styles, arrangements and harmonies. The showcase included: Nu Voices from Italy; John Nash & Monterey Peninsula Gospel Choir from US; Solid Gospel from Sweden; Love Revolution from Denmark; Riga Gospel Choir from Latvia and Living Water from Spain among others. Representing UK’s finest were Bazil Meade MBE with LCGC Legacy Choir, Clive Brown & Urban Sound and Volney Morgan & New Ye.

The Musicians Masterclass was a fully packed out affair as many wanted to catch the all star band of Cedric Thompson, Derrick Hall, Maurice Fitzgerald, Calvin Rogers, Joey Woolfalk who all gave great insight into their craft. There were many questions from attendees who devoured the knowledge, wanting more with each response.

Saturday’s Live & Unplugged Finale Concert had an interactive flavour with the mass choir made up of Music + Arts delegates being led by Donald Lawrence (pictured above with some Music + Arts Legacy Members) belting out one classic after another in an atmosphere of worshipful joy, shout and praise. University Gospel Choir of the Year (UGCY) 2023 winners Kent Gospel Choir kicked off the night in spectacular style and Gospel legends such as Jonathan Grier and DeWayne Woods (who both did a fantastic job throughout the mass choir rehearsals and performances) Melonie Daniels, Anthony Brown, Aarion Rhodes, Derrick Starks, Karen Gibson MBE, Bazil Meade MBE, Bishop J Francis, Israel Allen and others, who blessed the audience with their gifts. The auditorium was awash with music, warm fellowship and bright colours. No one wanted to leave at the end and many special moments were captured and shared. Click HERE for highlights.

UK-based Production Manager Ayo ‘Ayce’ Oyerinde had this to say, “Music & Arts was a great success. Knowing the heart of what Edwin started and what Donald is continuing, I believe the essence of Music & Arts; love, togetherness and the breaking down of cultural barriers was front and centre this weekend. I believe everybody left with a smile. Growing up watching and being influenced by Donald’s music and the musicianship of many of the people that graced the stage, It was even more special that our company ‘GloFest International’ was charged with producing Music & Arts along with Donald and his team. It’s all very surreal.”

Choir Showcase host Volney Morgan added, “It’s safe to say the choirs are back! Music & Arts hands down was one of the events of the year bringing so many people from Europe and around the world to come and not only listen but also sing Gospel music. What I loved about the global event was that it was a bridge to connect people from all around the world. Though there were many gospel celebrities in the building it felt more like a family gathering. I can’t wait for Music & Arts Global 2025.”

AStepFWD founder O’Neil Dennis, who also headed up the PR & Marketing working alongside Bill Carpenter from the USA was excited Music + Arts Global gathering. Dennis stated, “From the core team especially (Marsha Jerman, Mark Hubbard, Reggie Ayers), to the volunteers, to the choir and attendees, Donald Lawrence unleashed an army of hearts and it was absolutely inspiring to be part of the movement. The coming together and subsequent dispersal must have been what Pentecost felt looked and felt like. Around the world people will be talking about this one for a long, long time.

It is safe to say Edwin would be absolutely delighted with the resulting unity in evidence between people from different countries, backgrounds and denominations brought together through their shared love of gospel music that praises Jesus by Music + Arts Global 2023. Like Volney we too are already excited for the next one, wherever it will be!

Click image below for multiple highlights and snippets from what was a spectacular global choir gathering.

1 Comment

  • Ruby Price says:

    It was the most life changing music training I’ve ever attended! I’ve met new lifelong friends from London to Denmark. Different languages, but unified when singing the beautiful music together. It was Amazing! EVERYONE represented their country very well.

Comments are closed.