“Lift every voice and sing.”
The words of the Negro anthem resonated in the auditorium at Stocks Elementary School Thursday afternoon, from the mouths of the Edgecombe County High School Gospel Choir. The program marked the end of Stocks’ month long black history celebration.
The performance ended with group founder Kristian Herring lending his powerful vocals to the song “Total Praise.”
“Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills, Knowing my help is coming from You,” the choir sang.
“The music that’s written to it is just so classic, so calming. The message is one of praise, adoration to God,” Herring said. “It’s become a popular anthem in African American churches.” Richard Smallwood is the original songwriter.
“It talks about how you lift your hands in total praise to God and being grateful for opportunities to do whatever you’re supposed to be doing,” Tony Suggs, group advisor, said.
The 50-member high-school choral group’s calling is singing. One of those group members is Juwahn Anderson, a student at Edgecombe Community College who joined the choir as a student athlete at Tarboro High School. His favorite choral song is “He Reigns.”
“It talks about Jesus dying but how He reigns still,” Anderson said. “It’s an upbeat song, fast tempo. It lifts your spirit.”
Anderson said he believes the group’s performance taught the Stocks students “how to believe in something, believe in God.”
“There’s something out there other than what they see in everyday life,” Anderson said. Another spiritual selection the group performed Thursday was “Ezekial Saw the Will.”
“The Negro spirituals take you back to slavery times,” Suggs said.
“Sad” is the way that songs like “Ezekial Saw the Will” make first grader Zy’Nyiah Jones feel.
On the other hand, first grader Jozarra Pettaway said she felt happy because “they were singing gospel music.” She leaned her body in a backward motion to illustrate her favorite part of the program – when the choir swayed to the beat of the music.
“There’s a lot of choreography in everything that we do,” Suggs said.
“It made me feel good. I just liked their music,” said Haley Driver, a first grader. She said her
favorite song was “the one where they kept getting higher (pitched) and they were in a circle (in ‘Ezekial Saw the Will.’
At the end of the performance, Stephanie Alston, principal at Stocks, said she didn’t think it was possible for the group to sound any better than they did the last time she heard them, but they did.
“I was absolutely amazed when I first saw them at a pageant. They were so coordinated and so poise and their voice range,” Alston said. The message that the group conveyed to the audience is one of artistic interpretation.
“Singing is like a second language,” Suggs said.
Herring started the choir 20 years ago as a sophomore in high school. Now, he is the assistant principal of SouthWest Edgecombe High School.
Herring said the group, comprised of members from all four county high schools, is a “chance to build camaraderie amongst the schools” and an opportunity for artistically inclined students.
“The majority of them are not athletes. Some of them aren’t straight ‘A’ students. It gives them that outlet. Otherwise they wouldn’t have that chance to express themselves,” Herring said.
“It’s an avenue, it’s a refuge. This is the one place they belong. It starts changing their lives,” Suggs said.
“Lift every voice and sing.”
High school students flood the atrium of the T.S. Fleming Building on Edgecombe Community College's Tarboro campus Saturday for the 2014 College Round-Up. (Staff photo/Miranda Baines)
'World out there' begins with Round-up
“The world out there starts here” is the motto of Edgecombe Community College (ECC). That phrase was fitting Saturday, as “the world out there” began for high-school students attending the 13th Annual College Round-Up on ECC’s Tarboro campus.
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- Local News
- Our Community
TPD sponsoring teen, social media forum
In the wake of the recent internet scandal, the Tarboro Police Department is sponsoring a public forum 6 p.m. March 27 at the town hall to discuss teenagers posting bullying comments and sexually explicit photos of classmates and friends on social media websites.
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Chris O'Neill earned his first win as THS baseball coach when the Vikings opened the 2014 season with a win Saturday.
Vikings win 16-3; O'Neil earns first varsity victory
ROCKY MOUNT – The Tarboro Vikings opened up their 2014 season with an explosive offensive performance. The Vikings scored at least three runs in every inning except the fifth and sent at least seven batters to the plate each inning en route to a 16-3, five inning victory over Brunswick Academy Saturday at Rocky Mount Academy.
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
On July 28, 911 was called because my husband had a bad headache. I was transferred to communications in Edgecombe County, where I spoke to a female operator. I informed her I needed Rescue because my husband had a bad headache and gave her our address and telephone number.
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Spaghetti dinner to raise money for animal welfare organization
A spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Calvary Episcopal Church Memorial Hall will raise money for a local animal welfare organization – Tarboro Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) and Feline Friends.
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- Obituaries Archives
Culinary Creations by (and for) Families
Encouraging kids to get creative in the kitchen is a fun way to make great memories, meals and moments together. And for more than 10 years, Jif(r) has inspired parents to creatively collaborate with their kids in the Jif Most Creative Sandwich Contest(tm) for the chance to win a $25,000 college fund. Last year's top entries ranged from a sweet and spicy sandwich to satisfying snacks and dreamy desserts. Inspire your family with these delicious recipes or check out www.jif.com for even more creative options.
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