Warren church hosts 44th concert

WARREN — For the past 44 years, the St. James Church of God in Christ’s gospel choir members, both past and present, come together to present an annual concert for local families.

The concert, known as an Evening in Song, is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 15 at the church, 1838 S. Main St. David Howard, choir director, said it’s a September tradition.

“There are some members of the choir who have taken part for many years and a few for all 44 years,” he said.

Howard said the concert will include a variety of traditional gospel music, as well as feature spiritual, classical and choral songs.

“This brings many former church members and families together. The fact that we have done this for 44 years is an accomplishment. There are many churches who would not be able to do this,” Howard said.

He said the idea for the concert was that many church members would leave for college and this concert would bring them back to the church that weekend to either sing or watch the concert.

“It is an amazing event held for 44 years. Last year’s event was a huge choir,” Howard said. He said he expects 40 to 45 choir members this year.

Elaine Bell, a member of the choir and event committee, said it is nice to see so many people come back to the church.

When the choir event was first held, it was performed at the chapel. It later moved to Warren Western Reserve School, then the church sanctuary. Eventually, its popularity grew and had to be moved to a larger venue.

In recent years, more than 500 people have attended at Packard Music Hall, where the performance has been held for more than 10 years.

The concert has many church members taking part, including Charles Kirkland, the minister of music and director for many years, who will return again this year. Bell and many other choir members who have participated annually are also returning.

The concert is free. The host pastor is Melvin J.Howard.