Ohio State Fair
717 E 17th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43211
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
For as long as I can remember, I have attended the Ohio State Fair. My father took me to the fair for the first time when I was two years old. I really don’t remember going; but, my mother told me that I came home with vanilla ice cream all over my face and my clothes. The first memory I have of attending the fair is when I went with my cousins to spend the day at the fair. I remember budgeting my money to play a few games, as well as ride the bumper cars, and go in the fun house. Since that time, I have gone to the fair to see concerts, to eat, to enjoy the attractions, to ride a few rides, etc. We have made attending the fair a family tradition for several years.
Each year we park for $5 in the lots off the 17th Avenue exit off interstate 71.
Sidebar: I don’t think I have ever paid full price for the fair admission. We usually attend on AAA day. This year, the admission was $4 per person once we showed our valid AAA card. Discounted tickets can also be purchased at Kroger.
Many attend the fair for the rides:
Sidebar: My days of riding the rides are about over. If I’m tired and the ride is going to get me to my car faster, then sign me up. Otherwise, I’m going to pass.
For us, this year, it was all about the performances:
Each year, my mother insists that we attend the All Ohio State Choir performance at the Martin Janis Senior Citizen Center. According to https://ohiostatefair.com/band-choir/ the choir has 200 members. I enjoyed the melodious sound of the choir and the comfortable air-conditioned seating. The musical selections were accompanied by students playing the piano. Everyone did an excellent job.
The pig races are a featured attraction every year. Even though it is about the same each year, this race is always well attended. Since we have already seen the pig races, we still enjoy seeing a few minutes of it on the way to the featured show.
The Human Cannonball Crusaders show was worth the price of admission!
Were you ever afraid of heights? How did you get into this?
I was never afraid of heights. I saw an amateur circus in my home town when I was thirteen years old. I saw the high wire act and decided I wanted to do that. The next year I was in the high wire act.
Have you done it consistently since that time?
I have taken a few breaks. I worked construction. That is what I still do in my off time. These are the two jobs I have done since I graduated high school and I still do them.
How high was the high wire?
Did you have a net?
No net and no safety devices.
Tell me about the act.
I have been a human canon ball for twenty two years. I have been shot about 7,000 times. I just did the tv show “America’s Got Talent”, where I lit myself on fire and was shot from a cross bow.
How did you get into this?
I live in Peru, IN and they have an amateur circus for kids. I did that every year since I was eight years old. When I graduated from high school, I went professional. I did flying trapeze for sixteen years. After that, I decided to build a canon and have been doing that ever since.
Did you build this canon?
Yes. I have built seven canons. Now, I have three canons and a cross bow.
Do you have some unique George Jetson fuel?
Yeah, I keep it a secret, since I design and build them. I don’t reveal how it works. I am self taught. I designed it, build it, then taught myself how to fly out of it.
The “Flippin’- The Aerial and Acrobatic Spectacular” show was a new attraction at the Fair. It was worth the price of admission! It was fantastic!
According to https://ohiostatefair.com/band-choir/, the band has been around since 1963. (That’s a long time!) We always enjoy the music; but, we seek out the band primarily to see the drum major. My mom taught baton lessons as a teen ager at the Neighborhood house for $.50 per student. I won’t tell her age; but, it was SEVERAL DECADES ago.
Sidebar: I loved the girl in the back performing! Give her a couple of years she just might be able to take her show on the road.
Sidebar: I was walking by the Gazebo and saw Drew Murry shoving this balloon in his mouth. Then he talked after he appeared to swallow it. Due to a time constraint, I wasn’t able to see him pull it back, but he said he was going to do that later. This falls into the category of how did he do that?
Other things to see:
My TakeThere is so much to see at the Ohio State Fair. There is no way you can see everything the fair has to offer in one day. The Ohio State Fair is what you make it. It is a great opportunity to start and continue a family/friend tradition. Your fair experience could be completely different than my fair experience. But, at the end of the day, the memories are still priceless.
Rocket Fizz (soda pop and candy shop)
944 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43201
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Tell me about the store and your claim to fame.
The store is a small francise out of Camarillo, California. I helped open this one with my buddy from high school and his wife (Colin and Lyndsay Maher). We opened about four and a half years ago and we have been a staple of the Short North ever since.
What are your best sellers?
Our Harry Potter looking butter beer and candy cigarettes.
What is the vibe of the store?
We have over 500 different types of soda at any one time and upwards of a few thousand different candies. We have about 10,000 items that we can order. I’m not sure of the exact date, but I believe the floors are about a hundred years old. People comment about the charm of the “creaky” old floors. The old hardware store look and feel. Everything is for sale, the signs, the posters, the masks, etc.
Sidebar: The music is piped outside. The music is popular and familiar from different eras. For example, “Ain’t too proud to beg” by the Temptations and “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson. This helps to stir up memories of older times.
Are there any flavors that were discontinued?
Recently, black jack and clove just came back. My dad told me that they used to put black jack on their front teeth so it looked like they didn’t have front teeth from a distance.
Clove was originally sold at the pharmacy as a stomach soother. It also was used by smokers to mask the smell.
Sidebar: According to oldtimecandy.com, clove was used to cover the smell of alcohol during prohibition. According to oldtimecandy.com. black jack was the first flavored gum in America (1884).
For research sake, I tasted both gums. The clove had a medicinal taste. I’m not a fan of the licorice flavor, so my assessment of black jack wouldn’t be fair. At first, the licorice taste was overwhelming, but after a while the flavor was almost enjoyable. Both flavors tasted better the longer they were in my mouth.
When we first opened, people were pouring in because co-founder/President Rob Powells went on the TV show, “Undercover Boss”.
My take: I LOVE THE VIBE OF THE STORE. This is a stretch with the vibrant colors but it reminds me of the store set of the Andy Griffith show (if the Andy Griffith show was in color). It is a great place to go to shoot the breeze, go down memory lane, and make new memories.
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
This event had plenty of free close parking. Even if the lot adjacent to the event was full there were several other lots and street parking less than a block away.
Tell me about the event.
This is our nineteenth year. OSU East are the sponsors. We started this on the near east side. In fact, we used to do it at the hospital. When we acquired this building, it gave us more room to spread out. Today, we have at least thirty different health screenings from head to toe. For example, vision, dental, breast exams, etc. Our primary focus is to address those most critical health needs in our community: chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer screenings. We have a host of exhibitors with health information and organizations providing resources. I love that we offer free sports physicals for middle school and high school students. That is great for families that might not have a physician or might not be able to afford getting the physical for that student to participate in sports. If there are individuals that qualify and need a mammogram, we have those services here. We can schedule appointments today. We have healthy cooking demonstrations. Our goal is around prevention, and education. Part of our core mission is to have healthy communities. This is how we do our part by giving back. Historically, this has been one of the largest days of giveback for our organization. We are proud to continue that legacy.
This is our twentieth year at East Hospital. That is nice that it coincides with the event today. Our theme for that was twenty years and, counting. We are committed to this community and beyond. We want a healthy community and we are here for the long haul.
If a young person gets their physical today, will it be good for the whole school year?
I think most of the physicals are good for a year.
God forbid that someone finds out they have something like cancer today.
That has happened.
Do you offer follow-up services?
Yes, we do. We offer follow-up appointments. We usually get people tapped into the services right away.
If a young person wants to follow in your footsteps, what was your path to obtain the position you have?
I’m a nurse by background. When I was in high school, I took a career course as nursing assistant. I was placed on a job when I was seventeen at Children’s Hospital. I climbed the ropes as student nurse, nurse, graduate nurse, etc. My path has been mostly in administration positions. I was blessed to obtain this position (Executive Director of the East Hospital) two years ago. My advice is work hard. Let your work speak for itself. If students want to get involved with math and science, that is awesome. There are hospital administrators that focus in the business world. You can also learn the business as a managing nurse.
Tell me what is going on today.
This is Healthy Community Day put on by OSU Hospitals. We have 46 vendors that help us put on this expo tent that I am over. We have free screenings, over 400 volunteers from OSU and our partners. Our partners help us to put together a free healthy lunch, entertainment, screenings, the dental van, and demo kitchen. The sheriff’s department and fire department are also here. It is just a free and fun day to push community wellness and health and everything that makes our lives better. OSU East has been putting this on for nineteen years. I have been here for thirteen of those years. Every year it gets better.
I saw on the news that over 200 sports physicals were completed at this event last year. Any forecasts as to how many you will complete today?
We will need to wait until the end of the day to see the numbers. I do know that within the first hour they were already over 50. This event runs from 9 am to 2 pm. That’s five hours. If they keep up to forty or fifty an hour, you can do the math. We are going to surpass last year, I guarantee it.
What is up with the free food?
One plate per person. They will give you turkey hot dogs, roasted corn, roasted veggies, apple slices, and all the bottled water you can drink. We have a lot of good, free, healthy food.
How does a person volunteer for next year?
They can volunteer by going to OSU website. Most of our volunteers are employees. Get involved with the community such as the ohio housing, healthy living through the YMCA, any of the churches or health organizations can contact me and I can get you a table and get you in. There is no registration fee. Everything about this day is free.
We have a giant inflatable colon. You can walk through it. Colon health is important especially for our older gentlemen. Today is all about free stuff, learning, networking, and letting people see things that they haven’t seen before. Not too many people have seen a giant inflatable colon.
How do we contact you?
The easiest way is my phone number which is 614-257-2549.
Tell me why you are here and what you are doing.
I came because my boys are with the Life Sports program with Ohio State. Originally, we came for the sports physicals. Last year, my husband benefitted from coming here. He felt safe in the environment to complete his manly screenings. Any other time, he would have made excuses; but we were already here, so we were able to get it done.
Tell me about the Life Sports Program.
The Life Sports Program is a free summer program where each week they do a different sport. This will be my boys second year. It is an excellent program. I recommend it.
All the education and people were nice. They respected my family and it was an easy place to walk through.
What did you do today?
I had fun and got my teeth looked at. I got an Ohio State backpack. Go bucks.
I play football for the Linden Eagles, #2.
I love John’s confidence! He asked to be interviewed and appeared to be at home doing the interview.
Tell me about your organization.
On our website, you can find information about multiple programs that can help you with down payment assistance or assistance with closing costs.
Do you have to have good credit?
The credit scores can run from about 640 and 660, depending on if you want conventional or FHA. Some of the programs can be combined. Ohio Heroes is a program for first responders (police officers and firefighters), teachers, medical staff, and veterans.
Go to www.myohiohome.org and complete the quick assessment. The assessment can tell your eligibility status. Contact your realtor, and financial instituition to see if they work with OHFA programs.
Bronzeville Growers Market is an urban farm stand located at Seventeenth and Mt.Vernon Avenue. We have a kick off July 11, 2019, then it will be every Thursday after that until the end of August from 3:00 pm to 6:00pm. We are putting fresh produce back on Mt. Vernon Avenue.
Is it free?
No. It is about economic sustainability. At this table, we are showing individuals how to grow certain produce. Everybody should grow something. You should also buy. We will have four or five different types of tomatoes, peppers, okra, all kinds of herbs, squash and all kinds of things. It will be different every 2 or 3 weeks because we harvest what we grow. We will not have the same thing the first week of July as the end of August.
We will have family activities so everybody should come out.
What are you doing?
We are with the chief in me campaign. That is a community engagement survey on the characteristics they want the next police chief to have.
How long does the survey take?
The survey takes about 2 minutes. It doesn’t ask anything personal other than your age range, ethnicity and maybe your zip code. The rest is your opinion to get your input.
Why do you volunteer at this event?
We are at Outpatient East, it used to be Carepoint East at 543 Taylor Avenue. It helps out the community. We have free screenings, fun times, food, and laughter. It just helps out the community. Everybody is about helping out the community.
If you do not have a primary care physician come to 543 Taylor Avenue (Outpatient East- Ohio State University) and get a primary care physician.
What is going on?
This is the James mobile education kitchen. It was initially given to us by the Celebration for Life fund through the James. It is a grant for us to go out into the community and teach people about a healthier plant based lifestyle that works with cancer risk reduction. We are teaching people how to have a healthier life with plant based food. It doesn’t mean vegetarian and it doesn’t mean vegan. It means better portion control and eat more plant based foods in your diet.
Tell me how you made the vegetables. They were delicious!
They are two parts Lawry’s low sodium season salt, and one part Splenda brown sugar. It is extremely good for you to eat any vegetable with it. Today, we are giving a corn mango salsa and a healthier dill dip. We are using raw vegetables for the dill dip. The corn mango salsa is made with the free vegetables we are giving away in the tent. It is just a different way to show you how to do something with them.
Sidebar: Those were the best vegetables I recall eating. I asked the people on the grill who made the vegetables and sought Chief David Brue out. I was prepared to talk to him until he gave up the recipe. I couldn’t taste the difference between the dill dip and ranch dressing.
Tell me what you just did and where you are at.
I am at the Healthy Community event at Carepoint East for Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. I was just jamming with the Divine Impact Fitness crew. I am a member of their workout crew. I work out with them 3 to 5 times a week.
Have you seen any results?
I have seen lots of results. I am healthy. My numbers are great. It is just the best way to get fit.
What did you think about the fair?
The fair is awesome. I work at The Ohio State University. I am supportive of all the things we do for our community, in addition to our faculty and staff. The event is well attended and we had great weather for the event.
Good to see you and any other Mifflin alum around town.
Sidebar: I love that she said she supports events in our community. We are all busy! Sometimes we just have to MAKE time to support events. And I agree it is good to see a Mifflin graduate from the 1980s. “Ain’t no pride like Puncher pride”. (Puncher is our high school mascot).
Tell me about what you do.
We are Divine Impact Fitness. Currently, we are using the space inside of Next Level Fitness which is located at 7020 Cross Point Rd., Gahanna, OH. We do high impact cardio dance fitness, Monday thru Thursday 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Saturday 10:00am to 11:00am. From 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm, we do strength conditioning classes to help tone and tighten and lift those things that might be loose. We also do moods and mindfulness, which is our high impact cardio classes followed by 15 minutes of mindfulness which is a body scan. It is something like meditation which is led by Shekyra Decree who is a licensed clinical therapist.
You ended your session with something. Tell me about it.
We say different things every class. We encourage people to look at their neighbor and congratulate them and say, “we made it.” Not you made it or I made it but, “we made it through this together.” Then we say different things to encourage one another. We ladies have a tendency to be beat down every day by the world. We wear so many hats. We are mothers, wives, nurses inside of our homes, we are cooks, housekeepers, we hold a 40 hour a week job, some of us are business owners. We do a lot of things. We look at each other and say, “you are beautiful, you are loved, you are strong, you are powerful, you are resilient, you are enough just as you are right now.”
My take: I was surprised with how much fun a person can have around health screenings, exercise, and eating healthy. I did not go to any of the health screenings inside the building however; everyone I saw appeared to have a great time. I was impressed by the number of people they fed and the portions they were giving out. Many times when an event is offering free food, it MIGHT be a little bit of something. Definitely not a meal where a person can get full.. This event was well thought out and executed.
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Tell me about your work.
I work primarily in a combination of wood and washy paper, which is made from Japanese paper mulberry fibers. I do a lot of laser cuts. I like laser cut flat packable lighting, furniture, and home goods. I also do a lot of work in steam bent wood staving and layered washy on a more terete organic and bent form. I combine a lot of those together. I recently had my first solo exhibition here where I had a lot of those combination pieces, along with traditional woodworking, CNC milling, all of that tied together with more modern forms as well.
Sidebar: His response sounded like the Charlie Brown teacher (wooomp woommmp wooomp woommmp). I didn’t understand anything he said, but I LOVE his work.
How did you pick your medium?
When I was growing up, my grandfather was a wood worker. I found out later that he considered himself the least talented wood worker in the family. I started wood working with my grandfather growing up. Later, I was an actor and props designer for theater and film for many years. I was moving to a 400 square foot apartment and I wanted a Christmas tree that I could pack away and hide in a little box. I designed a slotted plywood tree that I could pack away. Initially I did the first 10 of them on a 1920s Dremel Scroll Saw. It took about 10 hours per tree of cutting. My arthritis was swelling up my hands like grape fruits. A friend introduced me to the laser cutter. I got hooked.
Anything else? How do we contact you?
I’m a member of Studios on High Gallery 686 N. High Street in the Short North www.bensostrom.com. I do custom commission work.
Tell me about your work.
It is mixed media. Acrylic paint on recycled wood.
How did you get started?
I am a self-taught artist. I worked in Columbus City Schools on an art team. We had music, art, dance, and drama at Fair Avenue Elementary School. We had shows where we painted stages, props, etc. I started falling in love with the vocabulary of art: time, space, energy, form, composition. I was a dance teacher. Dance and art are integrated with those forms. They overlap.
I’m working towards a children’s book. I am really influenced by the 1960s, during the civil rights movement. People of color at that time were strong, and unified. A lot of the patterns and color I use in my work are from that era.
How do we contact you?
I’m a member of Studios on High Gallery 686 N. High Street in the Short North or
Tell me about your work.
I take old photographic portraits and turn them into a story (from my own mind) about the person in the photograph.
How long have you been doing it?
I came from a family of artists. I have been drawing and doing all kinds of stuff since I was young. The portrait stuff probably within the last 10 years.
What advice would you give a young person who wants to do what you do?
Practice. Do art work every day. Enter as many competitions as you can. Keep going. Keep putting your work out there. The art fairs are a good way to start out and get people’s feedback on your artwork.
I received the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence award for 2019. I’m a member of Studios on High Gallery 686 N. High Street in the Short North.
Why a gallery?
I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love art. I studied art education, then did gallery work in Charleston, SC. It made sense to combine my entrepreneurial background with art.
Is this like when a person goes gambling that the odds are tipped to the house? You are the house.
It depends on the month.
Do the artists pay both rent? How does it work?
No. If I have good inventory, we have clients that want that inventory. We are here to promote artists, to launch careers, to sustain and launch artists’ careers. We don’t just hang art on the walls. We do professional development with artists. We are writing letter references for artists, and coaching them on how to be a full-time artist. We call other galleries in another market that might be interested in their work. To survive as an artist often you have more than one gallery supporting you. There is a whole host of things we do with our artists. We have a client list that has been built up for 10 years. It is a very boutique style approach. It is a partnership between me and the artists. I must trust what they are doing and they must trust that I am going to bring clients for them.
If a young person wants to own a gallery what advice would you give them?
Start networking. It is as much about who you know as what you know.
Tell me about this picture.
It is alcohol ink on yupo paper. Yupo paper is kind of like a polypropylene sort of like a plastic. You can get the ink in all different pigments like hues. You mix the ink with rubbing alcohol and put it on this paper. You can move it around. It doesn’t absorb into the paper. It stays on the surface, so you can move it with your brush and/or rag. The alcohol evaporates then leaves this beautiful pigment. You can get intense colors. It is experimental.
These are based on the artists’ concern with pollution. You don’t get these types of sunsets unless there is a lot of pollution in the environment. People think the entire series of paintings are gorgeous. It is a way for the artist to process how he feels about the environment and use his voice as an artist to say something. It doesn’t have to be so politically charged in your face, it can still be beautiful.
Tell me why you do street entertainment.
I do street entertainment so I can Connect with people on an emotional basis. The reason I like street performance is that it prepares you for the stage. When you are on the stage, people expect you to play. When you are on the street, people either love you or hate you or they walk away. You get to grab the audience. It’s a great way to try out new stuff.
How long have you been doing street performances?
Five or six years and through the Short North Alliance for about three years.
You can find all my music at scottiegmusic.com.
What advice would you give a young person who wants to do what you are doing?
You can just play on the side of the road without a permit. But technically it is illegal. Just do it. If they tell you to stop, just stop. Chances are they are not going to arrest you, so just go out and have fun. Try not to be rude. Watch out for homeless people. I have been robbed before.
Parking is still a hassle in the Short North area. My disclaimer is I went on a rainy Saturday, so the crowds were not there. I still had a blast talking to the artists and performers and most of all admiring the art.
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
I arrived at the Faith Ministries Church a few minutes early. I have been attending gospel concerts for over 30 years in the Columbus, Ohio area. This was my first time attending a Raise Productions concert. It seems odd because the choir has been in existence for about 33 years.
Sidebar: The excitement and the fun the group members were having during this song was contagious. I almost forgot that I was there to take pictures…
Sidebar: During the early part of the concert, I concentrated on making sure I stayed out of the video team members way and taking pictures. I started really listening to the choir on a cappella song, “Were you there”. The harmony was amazing!
Sidebar: A few of the lyrics of this song are “He could have chose another way to show he loved us, He could have chose another way to show He cared, yet he chose to die on Calvary. Just to think that he did it all for me”. I could have listened to this song for about 15 minutes more. Enough said.
Raise Productions has been around for a while. Tell me what is going on.
We started in 1985. It has been 34 years since Raise has been in existence. We are still moving. Initially, we started with the school and teaching private lessons in a house on 22nd Street. Then, we moved to the King Arts Complex and were there several years. Then, we moved to our own facility on Cleveland Ave. We taught classes in the arts. We had a vision to develop an accredited program. We had 5 or 6 teachers at that point. Most of the teachers went back to school to start getting their master’s Degree or additional degrees to be able to teach. I went back to school and got my Master’s and doctorate and started teaching at Ohio State, and at Dennison and now I’m teaching at Indiana University. We still have the publishing company. It still provides music for choirs and people all over the world. Brother Frank Lane runs Raise in Columbus. I promote Raise from Indiana and all over the world. The choir is still together and still sings. The choir is 33 years old and still has some of the original members.
A Raise Resurrection is an Easter concert which celebrates the story of Christ from Palm Sunday through the resurrection with anthems, spirituals, gospel songs, narratives, scriptures etc.
We don’t sing as often because I am all over the place. When we come together, it is always a blessed time. It is a reminder of how pleasant it is for brethren to come together in unity, to sing and experience the power of God.
Any projects coming soon?
We have been working on a project for a little while. We just haven’t been able to get it finished. The project is called, “Still Raising Gospel Music Higher.” On our first concert and album over 30 years ago we had a song called “Raising Gospel Music Higher”. That was our motto for Raise. We have beautiful music that the Lord has given us. We are just waiting to get it out.
Do you write most of the songs the group performs? Toot your own horn for a minute.
I have been composing since I was 9. I have written over 600 compositions. With Raise choir, I write all the music. That is primarily because the Lord has gifted me as a composer. They are a group that we developed to be able to share the music that God gave to me.
Tell me more about the progression of Raise.
We started teaching lessons in a house, but always had a vision to have an accredited school. Having come through traditional classical training in undergraduate school, I realized that gospel music did not mix with classical music and it was not welcome in the academy. That burned in me a vision that people need to learn how to do gospel music in an academic setting and not be made to feel that gospel music is inferior. When we started the community arts school, we were trying to develop the courses and curriculum to teach people to do what we do in African American churches through gospel music. We were blessed to do that, then the Lord called us to a higher platform where He gave us the arena. We were able to take our programming into academic settings and now we literally teach in college and universities all over the world. A lot of choirs perform this music all over the world. If you search for Raymond Wise on www.youtube.com, there are over 400 pieces posted. Not even one did I post. There are choirs from all over the world performing this music. The Lord is blessing this ministry to be a worldwide ministry in terms of the curriculum, music, products and sheet music.
What should I have asked that I didn’t ask that you are dying to tell me?
We are blessed to have been here for this many years, the longevity that the Lord has given us but there is still more. While we are expanding, the Lord is opening new doors in other arenas. There is still that vision to be able to train and help musicians in non-academic as well as church settings to learn how to do this music in a wonderful way. We still have a vision that one day there will be a center for the gospel arts where people can come from all over the world to do this music.
How do we contact you?
All our products and contact information are on www.raiseonline.com. We don’t sing as often, but we still do sing. If people want us to do specific things, we just need to know in advance. We do clinics, workshops, etc.
How long have you been a member and why do you participate?
I have been a member since I was 19 years old. It has impacted my life by helping to enlighten me to pray for people and lay my hands-on people while I am giving them a massage. I am a professional massage therapist. It has taken me out of a dark place in my life. About 30 years ago, I considered committing suicide. The music and the words to the music lifted me up from that dark place and encouraged me to go forward.
The group is unique in that we sing 6-part harmony. By that I mean first soprano, second soprano, first alto, second alto, first tenor, second tenor, and bass. Usually you don’t find that in groups from Columbus Ohio. You get soprano, alto, tenor. Half of the tenors are baritones and they are screaming their part. Screaming impacts your voices.
We also sing in different languages. We sing in German which is wild to me. It is a gift that Raymond has given us to be able to interpret gospel music in German.
Years ago, we had the opportunity to sing at a Jewish synagogue with a choir from Renalt Israel. They had a piece of our music, we had a piece of their music. When we came together as family, it was phenomenal. We were so much on one accord that both groups wore royal blue without planning it. We have been exposed to many arenas that most African American choirs do not get the opportunity to be exposed to.
Why do you sing in Raise?
The impact of his music. His music is all scripturally based. I love the arrangements of his music. You don’t find his music being played over and over on the radio. It is a totally different style. One person said they don’t know whether to clap or sit and listen.
The group exposes my vocal range.
Are you trying to tell me you can “blow”?
I won’t say that. Someone else might say that, but I won’t.
What part do you sing?
Second soprano. My vocal range has changed. I used to sing first soprano.
If you are singing with Dr. Raymond Wise , we know you are hitting the correct notes.
His second soprano is most choirs first soprano range. Raymond writes very high, but he gives you the training and breathing techniques, etc. We warm up properly all the time before we sing. We don’t stress that in the black choirs. We just sung 10 songs and I am not hoarse. In other choirs, I would have been hoarse by the fourth song. With this group he demands excellence and unity, the musicians are not out playing one another, The musicians want to hear what we are singing.
My take: I completed the group piano lessons offered at the school in the mid-1990s. I knew Dr. Raymond Wise was a talented musician and singer prior to attending the concert. I didn’t know what to expect. This concert told the story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Scriptures were not only read by narrators but displayed visually on screens in the front of the sanctuary. A few of the members gave their testimony of how the group and/or songs has impacted their lives over the years. This was a concert that was more than singing and playing instruments in excellence. It was ministry in excellence. “Just to think that He did it all for me” …. Enough said.