On Sunday, January 26 at 5 p.m., First United Methodist Church welcomes again the engaging Martin Luther King, Jr. Male Chorus to the main sanctuary. Through the joy and celebration of music, the Chorus brings an exciting, powerful sound and message of faith and fellowship.
This group of 30 extraordinary men, ranging in age from 20 to 90, both clergy and laity, are from 26 denominationally diverse congregations from Hurricane to Oak Hill, West Virginia. Sharing their witness with song and voice, they sing both contemporary and traditional African American gospel music that they share with diverse audiences throughout the State of West Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region of the country.
The group started in January 1996, when a group of men were recruited to sing as part of a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. While the celebration was nothing new, the group of men felt something special and decided to form a group to help keep King’s dream alive.
The MLK Jr. Male Chorus has traveled to congregations large and small across the state of West Virginia, and has carried its music to elementary and high schools, prisons, senior citizen centers, hospitals, reunions and corporate gatherings. Over the years, they have received awards and recognitions from a variety of religious, governmental and secular organizations.
The Chorus has performed before the president twice, participated in Multi-Fest of West Virginia, the Appalachian Children’s Chorus Holiday Concert, the Third District Annual Conference of AME churches, the US Postal Service’s ceremony honoring of Randy Moss and the Black Heritage Festival in Clarksburg. The group has been showcased at the Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins and The Governor and First Lady’s (West Virginia) “Joyful Night” celebration.
Sharing their gifts statewide, they have been instrumental in raising funds for non-profits like Boling, Inc. in Lewisburg and Manna Meals in Charleston. In 2006, working with the Governor of West Virginia, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences and the West Virginia Council of Churches, the MLK Jr. Male Chorus was one of the lead arts group in the state in planning and executing a benefit show that included 12 arts groups. This event raised money for Katrina victims who were in West Virginia as a result of the disaster.
First United Methodist Church is located at 52 S. Florida St., the corner of Latham and S. Florida streets. Visit their website at www.firstchurchum.com. The Concert is free, and everyone is invited to join the celebration. A free-will offering will be received to defray the Chorus’s expenses.