9:14 PM / Tuesday January 31, 2023

12 Dec 2015

Making Spirits Bright

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December 12, 2015 Category: Oasis Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Donald Dumpson (Photo: Arch St. pres.) and Rev. Shirley Caeser

A Joyful Noise will be heard at the Kimmel Center when this year’s version of “A Soulful Christmas” takes place on Tuesday.

By Denise Clay

On Tuesday, those looking for a reason to praise the Lord through music for the holidays will be in for a special treat as the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall becomes the stage for the gospel music extravaganza “A Soulful Christmas”.

This year’s event will honor the musical contributions of the Rev. Shirley Caesar and will feature some of Philadelphia’s best choirs and even some praise dancing, said Donald Dumpson, director of the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale and musical director for the event.

Joining the Heritage Chorale as performers for this year’s event are the A.M.E. First District Mass Choir, the Bright Hope Baptist Church Mass Choir, the Deliverance Evangelistic Church Mass Choir, the Enon Baptist Church Mass Choir and the City Wide Praise Dance Collaborative.

“A Soulful Christmas”, which is in its third year, stemmed from a conversation that Dumpson had with programming director Matt Wolf about ways that the Kimmel Center could connect with the African American community, Dumpson said.

“While their programming was extraordinary, they didn’t have anything that really connected with the African American community,” Dumpson said. “There was no gospel music or anything like that. I wanted to do something that would allow the community to participate. Matt Wolf was very supportive and created a window for it to happen.”

This year’s event puts the spotlight on women in the pulpit. In addition to Caesar, who leads Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries, the program will feature other female ministers including the Rev. Dr. Jessica Kendall Ingram, AME First District Episcopal Supervisor and wife of the Rt. Rev. Gregory G.M. Ingram, the First District’s Presiding Bishop.

While she hadn’t figured out what she was going to say at press time, Rev. Ingram, who also participated in last year’s program honoring Walter Hawkins, is looking forward to it.

“It was a very unique and exciting experience that went by very quickly,” she said.

“That the women are taking the lead is a reflection of what’s going on in the ministry,” Dumpson said. “These women have a gift.”

Tickets for “A Soulful Christmas” at the Kimmel Center are still available, but they’re going fast. They start at $26 and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, groups of 10 or more can get tickets by calling 215-790-5883 or you can come to the Kimmel Center box office at Broad and Spruce Streets in Center City. If you use the code “heritage” when you purchase your tickets, you can get a 15 percent discount.

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