Jami Jackson's Music Player

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FPC Choir and the Pastoral Installation Service in Connecticut

On Sunday, September 20, I performed with the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn Choir at First Congregation Church in Stamford, Connecticut. Reverend Dr. Cari Jackson, a previous interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church, was being installed as the Senior Pastor at First Congregation Church. It meant a lot for our choir to sing at her installation in Connecticut because she had been at our church for over 2 years and we all had a special bond with her. Pastor Cari has a way with words. Her sermons are so easy to relate to, you would think she was speaking to you personally. All kinds of people, young and old, all from diverse backgrounds, could relate to her words. It's amazing, actually, how well she could speak about God and his existence in our life. One phrase that she always closed with us was, "God is as close as your very breath. Breathe deeply and know that God's presence is with you".

Pastor Cari is not your typical pastor. She is a black, female, lesbian reverend who holds not only a Ph.D., but also a law degree. She is a lover of words and she writes poems when she is not preaching. The choir rode in a bus to the church in Connecticut and it took a little over an hour to get there. It was fun riding together in anticipation of the service. We really didn't know what we were getting into; we didn't know how the other church would be or how they would react to us. The First Congregation Church was established 365 years ago, in 1635. They had years and years of white pastors at the church. This service would be the first time that they had a Black, female, and gay pastor installed as Senior Pastor. It was truly a historic service. Read the press release.

During the service, we sang "Come, Let Us Worship the Lord", "No Ways Tired", "Order My Steps", and a few other hymns. I co-lead "Order My Steps" with Bertilla Baker, a great singer and actress. Bertilla has been a lead singer for the choir for many years and is a beloved member of the church. LaChanze FordJour was at the service and performed a song. She was the winner of the 2006 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a musical for her role of Celie in the Broadway Musical, The Color Purple. She performed, "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" and it was excellent! Her voice was so full and dynamic and she really connected to the song. Also, after the service, LaChanze and her husband, Derek Fordjour, both complimented me on my performance of "Order My Steps". They were both really impressed at my delivery of the song. It was nice to get such a compliment from LaChanze.

Overall, the service was a real success. Pastor Cari got the recognition and celebration that she deserved. First Congregation Church is entering a new chaptor by installing Pastor Cari and are headed towards real change. In the history books of First Congregation Church, installing Pastor Cari was like the inauguration for President Obama. I am glad that I was able to witness such a great historic event.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Final Summer Concert Series Show at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn

On August 20, I performed a mini concert at FPC to conclude their summer concert series for the year. The concert series included hymn sings, where the choir would sing songs from the hymn, an art show, guitar band, brass band, and a mini orchestra. All of these concerts took place outside on the steps of the church in Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Heights is a quiet and quaint area of Brooklyn, so our music series was very conspicuous. They were a lot of fun, however! The weather was really nice for most of the series. We also had wine served and sweets like brownies and ice cream. It was a nice way to fellowship outside and enjoy the summer nights.

My concert was particularly interesting. We had started about half an hour late because of technical difficulties. When I arrived to perform, I was surprised to see already a full house! All of the rest of the summer series started 10-15 minutes late because we were waiting for a crowd, but at my concert everyone was ready to see me! I was really excited to see all of the support. After we had the music ready for the show, I started rockin' and rollin'. I sang original songs, cover songs, and some gospel songs. I opened with "Keep Walkin' On" and everyone loved it. I also sang "You Gotta be" by Des' Re and "Shackles" by Mary Mary. I also sang "Sista Girl", a song that I wrote. People in the neighborhood who walked by the church stopped and listened to me. There was one group that stopped and listened to my entire concert! I was very happy to draw such an audience. A blogger for Brooklyn took a picture of me and mentioned me in their blog. You can check out the blog here: http://mcbrooklyn.blogspot.com/2009/08/final-music-concert-at-first...
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. People were still talking about the concert weeks later.