WEEKEND: Men's gospel group, others to celebrate spring with Saturday concert in Port Angeles

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Last spring, Michael Rivers contemplated a return to the Peninsula Men's Gospel Singers, the group he'd founded some 23 years earlier.

A songwriter and the operator of a construction company, Rivers had left the group to record and tour with his album, “My Father's Face,” in 2011.

But after director Lee Moseley left, the singers needed a leader.

Rivers meditated, prayed — “whatever label you feel comfortable with,” he said — and felt led to the Old Testament's Psalm 98. It begins: “Sing to the Lord a new song,” and urges all manner of joyful noise, from harps to horns to ocean waves.

“Let the sea roar,” the psalm says.

Rivers listened. He has returned to the Gospel Singers, and will lead them in concert at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., this Saturday night.

The 7 p.m. performance brings the men's choir together with harpist John Manno; flutists Sharon Snel and her teenage student, Joshua Gershon; and the California folk-gospel duo Hilary & Kate. Tickets are $10 and $15 for reserved seats and $8 for students. To reserve in advance, phone 360-452-1531 or visit www.NWPerformingArts.com.

To those who haven't heard the Men's Gospel Singers before, Rivers offers a special invitation.

The choir “just might surprise you, with [its] dedication to this music and its message of love,” he began.

“Come and enjoy a night full of variety and harmony. You just might leave humming a new song,” such as “You Raise Me Up,” or “Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen.” Also on the agenda are Hilary & Kate's “Run Brother” or “Give Me Jesus.”

Hilary Watson and Kate Feldtkeller, who accompany themselves on guitar and violin, will offer a 30-minute set of “old-time harmonies,” Feldtkeller promised, with “our own originals, with a couple of our favorite hymns tossed in.”

Saturday's concert will travel the spectrum of mood, Rivers added.

A flute and harp piece comes early, “to let us all reflect and listen.” Later, a sing-along will feature several of Rivers' choir members, who also are instrumentalists, on trombones and saxophones.

It's all about that joyful noise. And this being a Peninsula Men's Gospel Singers celebration, the group's longtime favorites will be mixed in too: “Rise Up O Men of God,” “Dry Bones, Deep River,” “Loving God, Loving Each Other.”

To learn more about the choir and its concerts this year, visit www.PMGospelSingers.com.

Last modified: March 20. 2014 7:46PM
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