On Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. the Institute of Sacred Music is sponsoring “A Celebration of Gospel”, an evening of music that spans generations and unites multiple threads of the rich tapestry that is black gospel music. Well-known gospel musicians, Donald Lawrence and Vincent Bohanan, will perform with their ensembles alongside a community choir comprising singers from New Haven and surrounding areas. The evening is supported by ISM’s interdisciplinary Music and the Black Church program. Although in-person tickets are sold out, you can view via live stream here.
A special masterclass is also being offered with Donald Lawrence on Nov. 16 at 2:15 p.m. in Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. “The Ministry of Song: A Conversation with Donald Lawrence” is part of Professor Braxton D. Shelley’s course on “The Musicality of Black Preaching.” Framed by performances of Donald Lawrence’s music by members of the Yale and broader community, Lawrence and Shelley will have a free-flowing discussion about music, ministry, and his creativity. The class is open to the general public but registration is required and places are limited.
While in New Haven, Lawrence and Bohanan will both be interviewed by Libby Van Cleve, director of the Yale Library’s Oral History of American Music (OHAM) collection. Shelley has been working closely with Van Cleve to establish a series of one-on-one interviews with leaders in gospel music to help preserve the voices of key Black musicians. The interviews with Lawrence and Bohanan will be added to this growing Major Figures in American Music Collection.
Donald Lawrence is a songwriter, producer, composer, music/choir director, and a recording artist. He is the guiding force behind such number one hits as “Encourage Yourself,” “Back II Eden” and “The Blessing of Abraham.” Equally at home in both the inspirational and contemporary arenas, the multiple Grammy and Stellar Award winner has collaborated with a diverse roster, including such marquee names as Karen Clark Sheard, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, En Vogue and Mary J. Blige.
Vincent Bohanan founded “The Sound of Victory (SOV) Fellowship Choir” in January 2014. He nurtured his musical virtuosity as a young child, was fortunate to have been mentored and has developed his credentials into a list of accomplishments with esteemed musical groups. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Business and Audio from Five Towns College. He has worked with “The Institutional Radio Choir” and alongside Vy Higginsen and “The Mama Foundation”, a highly respected performing arts foundation located in Harlem. The Sound of Victory Fellowship Choir was established to provide young gospel singers with the platform and outlet to freely develop and express their musical talents in a positive way.
Donald Lawrence (left) and Vincent Bohanan.