D.C. was host last weekend to a string of events in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and one particular event sparking the interest of local gospel lovers was “Let Freedom Sing,” a performance by Howard University’s gospel choir.
The event, held Saturday, Jan. 18 at THEARC Recreation Center in Southeast, was in conjunction with the city’s celebration of the late civil rights icon and his birthday, which is observed nationally each year on the third Monday in January.
Reggie Golden, director of the Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University, instructed a beautifully crafted show, showcasing the variations of talent and abilities of all choir members.
“We’re a Black choir, a gospel choir, so it has to be music that I believe showcases the breadth of our contributions to music,” said Golden, a former Howard student who has sung with the choir since his freshman year in 2008.
The choir opened the evening adorned in African garb, performing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The HU ensemble ran through a two-hour collection of contemporary gospel songs and historic music closely tied to African American culture. “Glory is God,” “Amazing Grace,” “When the Saints Go Marching In” and many more were included in the night’s set.
The performance had everyone in attendance moving in their seats, as the choir closed out the show by inviting audience members to join them onstage.
“Spirituals, that’s our past, that’s our legacy, so you want to make sure that we certainly get a historically accurate performance that is representative of all of our music,” Golden said.