by Troy Tieuel
Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel

Why We Sing Captivates all with Religious Messages

‘Why We Sing’ is a musical presented by acclaimed youth director Brandon Rainey founder of the Chosen By God Arts, at the Lynwood Performing Arts Center through October 6.  Rooted in Christian values and positive messages presented both in prose and in song, ‘Why We Sing’ is a story of redemption and triumph over the negative influences that a group of youth faces, as they attempt to live right.  Unified by the backdrop of a school based choir, the youth struggle to navigate through teen pregnancy, gang violence, peer pressure and a host of other social issues.

The choir is held together by two instructors played by Donovan Wright, Sinnamon Bee along with a security guard played by Mark Starks. Each character faces their own personal trials, including the instructors who struggle justifying a budding love for each other as they work hard at keeping their choir together, despite many setbacks and a jealous basketball coach who strives to prevent their potential union.

Directed by Brandon Rainey, known for transforming regular students into seasoned, trained actors, the play is sprinkled with several veteran Pullum Community Art Center actors such as Joshua Joseph who played the hilarious Coach Sherman. Musicians trained at the Pullum Community Art Center provided the music.

Reoccurring elements in Rainey’s plays are the unique transitions and visual cues that move the storyline of the play.  One such transition happens when the main character, Jason, played by Brandon Archer, stands trial for the murder of one of his classmates and the evil that is represented by the crowd in the courtroom descends upon him ripping his clothing off as they violently pull him in all directions.  He emerges from the struggle, renewed in white, standing triumphant as the court renders a non-guilty verdict.

As usual with Pullum Center students, singing and dancing bordered on professional quality, including several covers of classic Kirk Franklin hits among other favorites.  Most impressive were the surprise bouts of talent shown during the original rap songs, ballet routines, tap routines, and the group chorus songs.

The religious message was not drowned out with the musical talents of the kids, but was enhanced and spotlighted the quality of the writing and production that went into this musical.  The message was not pushy, but delivered with several non-verbal cues and a carefully crafted storyline dotted with clever costuming and the timely physical comedy expected from a Broadway production.

Rainey, who has written and directed sixteen plays to date, gave all the glory to God and elected to have a prayer of thanks and acknowledgement to the struggles that the crew faced instead of the traditional bows.

An encore presentation will take place October 20 at 5:00pm at the Washington Prep’s Dream Theater at 10860 S. Denker Ave. in Los Angeles CA, 90047. This show is free for everyone 18 and under.

For more information on Chosen By God Arts, go to For more information of the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center, go to