Guest Blogger: BJ Daniels Recaps Walter Hawkins Tribute ConcertPublished by Torrence Glenn on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm.
Hey folks, last night the 2 day memorial festivities for Bishop Walter Hawkins began with the memorial concert “The Man, The Music, The Ministry: A Musical Salute to Bishop Walter Hawkins” . I wanted to make it to Oakland to attend but prior commitments and logistics just didn’t allow it, but thankfully our good friend of the blog BJ Daniels was able to attend and was willing to recap the night for us for those who didn’t make it. As I’m sure most of you know, I’m pretty active on the social media platform “Twitter” and it’s proven to be a rather remarkable way to bring people together and share information. Although most of us were unable to be at last night’s concert, you were able to get some updates of what was going on from different people on twitter. For example, the program photo tot he right was captured and posted by gospel artist DeWayne Woods. And our guest blogger today, BJ Daniels was able to offer his recap to me via twitter when he realized that I wasn’t there. How dope is that!
BJ Daniels is an administrator at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church, Washington, DC, graphic designer, former gospel radio announcer and gospel enthusiast. He also has his own blog, so you should check it out here!
***passes mic to BJ Daniels***
“Marvelous, So Marvelous!”
There was a marvelous buzz in the air as we gathered at the Paramount Theater in Oakland for the Musical Tribute for the late Bishop Walter Hawkins. People from all over the country showed up in their finest garb to pay tribute to a man who has touched the lives of people all over this world. I took my seat on the second row and waited patiently. Fifteen minutes after the scheduled start time, the house lights went down and the musical tribute began. Famed Edwin Hawkins opened with the Love Center Choir in his background (in full numbers) with a church medley that included What A Might God We Serve. Pastor Daryl Coley popped out of nowhere on stage and helped with the church medley leads. It was good to see him in the house. I have to be honest. There was great anticipation in the room, but know one really knew what was going to happen during the course of the evening.
The hosts for the night included Dr. Bobby Jones, Pastor Marvin Winans and Bebe Winans. You could not find one sequin on Dr. Jones’ suit. Bebe was garbed in a gray, custom-tailored suit and Marvin strutted a three-piece pin-striped suit – gosh that man can sing! Bebe said he wanted to be a Hawkins and thought he was one, but wait, Bebe, you’re a Winans. You can’t have your cake and eat too! Individually, they shared brief moments they have had with Bishop Hawkins and the night continued with Ledisi on lead with Be Grateful. With her unique sound, she belted notes and squeals unimaginable. Also in the early lineup was Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers with his version of I’m Going Away. He seemed a bit hoarse, but he pulled through and blessed the house. Erica Campbell of the famed group, Mary Mary, joined guitarist, Jonathan Dubose, for a mellow heart-wrenching version of Dear Jesus, I love you. As she sat, and later stood, all blinged out (but beautiful), Jonathan made that guitar talk to us like no other. At the conclusion, Jonathan stopped the show to share his personal story of how he came to know Bishop Walter Hawkins and followed up with his personal rendition of Goin’ Up Yonder on guitar. His special gifting captured the attention of the evening.
The tribute was well underway and the momentum of the evening only picked up as our praises to God filled the room. The “shift in the atmosphere” (You church folk know you were looking for that line) came when Kathy Taylor Brown took lead on Special Gift. Kathy, dressed in her black and fuchsia suit growled, belted and made Special Gift her own. Now, for all of my church folk, you know what came next – the dance! Yes, we turned the Paramount Theater into a holy dance hall that ended up in the famous “War Cry,” as made famous by Bishop Kenneth Moales, Sr. We know this is the only way Bishop Hawkins would have wanted it – Marvelous!
Speaking of Bishop Kenneth Moales, Sr., he raised an offering for the Walter Hawkins Foundation in a creative, but authoritative manner. We had to pass the money down, but Bishop said, “Watch your money go down. If the person on your row bends over, you bend over with them, but watch your money. Everyone in here is not saved and even some of the saints are not delivered!” There is none like our Bishop Moales. Afterwards, there was a creative dance interpretation by a name-less group of young people. Dressed in street attire, they interpreted spoken words and music by Bishop Hawkins. Following was the tear-jerker of the evening. Don Jackson, CEO of the Stellar Awards, donated a video of Bishop Hawkins and Love Center Ministries singing, “Marvelous” at the Stellar Awards. As we sat there and watched and viewed the real life of the man as we know him, I looked past my own teary eyes to see if my neighbors cosigned on my tears. It was a touching moment to see him on stage, singing, sharing and simply being Bishop Walter Hawkins. A few times, I glanced over at the Hawkins Family. Please keep them in your prayers.
Vanessa Bell Armstrong took the stage with her rendition of Victory while Kurt Carr directed the Love Center Choir. Let me pause and say that Kurt Carr has a way of bringing out the best in you. When it seemed that Vanessa wanted to let it go, he marched over to her, stuck out his musical finger of authority and pulled the rest of what was in her, out of her to deliver the best rendition possible. Other musical directors for the evening included the legendary Richard Smallwood and Love Center musical director, Rusty Watson. By this time, people were standing around the walls. We were all acquainted with our neighbors and well, we just wanted more! We got more as Karen Clark-Sheard led He’ll Bring you Out. I think I know where Dr. Jones’ sequins went when I saw Karen hit the stage, but she didn’t let that bling stop her from delivering the riffs, runs and anointing! Melonie Daniels led When the Battle is Over, but forgot the second verse. She can sing though!
My favorite rendition of the evening was led by Marvin Winans, Bebe Winans, Erica and Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) with the famous Hawkins tune, What is This?! It was mellow, soul-stirring and delicious. When I tell you Marvin Winans is still the same Marvin Winans vocally, trust me. There is something about his voice. The soothing, lounge-like voice of Bebe could be heard as he sang until he was standing on the tips of his toes. I love the combination of Erica and Tina. It’s a good thing. I spoke on Erica’s bling, but Tina was draped in a beautiful floor-length “California Dreaming” summer dress. It doesn’t stop there. Next to the stage – Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Byron Cage and Ted Winn with their version of Marvelous. I don’t know what kind of lungs Pastor Donnie has, but he sung like never before. He sung at his best. Cage and Winn did a great job as well. You know Pastor Donnie is not going to leave the stage without doing two things – speak in tongues and say, “O my!” Well, with Pastor Donnie on high, Ted on middle and Byron on low parts, they gave us all that and more.
Lady Tramaine Hawkins-Richardson gracefully took us back as she delivered That Kind of Friend and Changed. She wore a beautiful black dress with fringes and maintained a flawless face. She spoke of the gift of Bishop Hawkins and appreciated him mostly for his gift of songwriting. When Lady Tramaine sings, she sings and she still hit her notes in the original keys! I just wonder how she sings with those blinged-out chokers on. The conclusion of the night was rendered with Bishop Paul Morton, and Mary Mary singing Thank you! Bishop Morton was at his best with his unique runs. That night, the Paramount Theater was transformed into a sanctuary and haven of celebration for the life of Bishop Walter Hawkins. Kudos to the Love Center Choir for their faithfulness to the night. They stood a long time and I’m sure my feet would have been hurting.
Notable persons in attendance include: Reverend Jesse Jackson, Bishop Alfred Owens, Jr., Sandra Crouch, Bishop Julia Wade, Bishop & First-Lady Kenneth Ulmer, Bishop David Copeland, Pastor Claudette Copeland, James Hall, Bishop Quincy Fielding, Jr.,Calvin Bernard Rhone, Sound Expert – Charles Harris, Pastor Jerome Bell, Bishop Carlton Pearson, Bishop Earl Wortham, Natalie Simmons, Earnest Pugh, Dwayne Woods, Desmond Pringle, Publicist – Bil Carpenter. The evening was simply marvelous!
***takes back mic***
Big thanks again to BJ for recapping for us. He could have sat himself in that concert and not worried about me or anyone else, but he “thought it not robbery” (felt like being churchy) to keep us up to speed! I’m glad and sad all at the same time. Glad that it went so well and Bishop Hawkins had such an awesome event and sad that I wasn’t there, aside from the obvious sadness that comes from losing him.