June 24, 2018
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Female tenor part of gospel choir to give concert Sunday in Bangor

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Priscilla Henderson peered at the sheet music in a notebook in her lap, searching for the measure where she and her fellow tenors came in. Henderson, of Bangor, is a woman and a tenor, a rarity in the choruses and choirs that perform in northern and eastern Maine.

It feels natural to her.

Henderson regularly sings tenor in the choir at Destiny Worship Center, which meets at the Wellman Center at the historic campus of Bangor Theological Seminary. This weekend, she will join about 25 other singers for a community gospel concert at John Bapst Memorial High School. The concert, at 3 p.m Sunday, will benefit the outreach ministry of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

This is the third year for the gospel concert, which was organized by Roger George and Nancy Dymond, both lifelong residents of Bangor and members of St. John’s.

George, an African-American hairdresser, believes his hometown needs more gospel music. Over the past few years, he has helped organize a joint service in January of his church and All Souls Congregational Church in Bangor to mark the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. He also has produced the Bangor Rotary shows.

“I think people like hearing gospel music,” George has said. “It’s been very well received at the [American] Folk Festival. It’s also a great opportunity for local singers to perform this kind of music and an opportunity for the local community to hear it.”

Songs selected for this year’s concert include “Lean on Me,” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” “Steal Away,” “Blessed Assurance” and “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha.”

At 15, Jacob McKay of Bangor is the youngest member of the group. He is an experienced chorister and sings with the chamber and jazz choirs at Bangor High School and in his church choir.

“It’s a great experience,” he said of singing in the gospel choir. “I really enjoy it.”

McKay, like his father, Tyke McKay, who performs often in George’s productions, sings bass.

“This is a group of funny and outgoing people,” the younger McKay said. “These are the kind of people I like to be around. I look up to them.”

Henderson said that singing in the gospel choir once a year was a bit like a scattered family that gets together once a year for a reunion and sings.

“But for me, this concert is about a lot more than just singing,” she said. “It’s about giving back to the community.”

Tickets for the concert are $15 for adults, $10 for children. They will be available at the door. For information, call 947-0156.

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