By Janice Malone
The late Bishop G.E. Patterson was a beloved member of the Christian community and a preaching giant. Known for his dynamic sermons, he was also loved for his music. Songs from his “Old Time Way” CDs were heard in choir stands nationally. Now the Women’s Choir of his former church, the Temple of Deliverance Church (TOD) of God of Christ in Memphis, TN, is continuing his legacy with the release of a brand new single, “Everybody Praise.” The spirited, uplifting praise song, led by soloist Carla Tolbert, is the lead single from the forthcoming CD; Pastor Milton R. Hawkins Presents the Temple of Deliverance Women’s Choir: In The Sanctuary,” which was released last month.
In addition to “Everybody Praise,” the CD, recorded live in Memphis, TN, features eleven other church-friendly Gospel songs. Some of gospel music’s most popular artists make appearances on the CD including: Karen Clark Sheard on, “Break Through,” Tamala Mann on “Have Thine Own Way” and Lisa Page Brooks on “Keep Me All The Way.” Temple of Praise COGIC Pastor, Milton R. Hawkins, delivers the rousing and anointed track “Armed and Dangerous.”
Although the Temple of Deliverance Women’s Choir has existed for 25 years, it was the vision of the church’s First Lady, Catherine Hawkins for the choir to record. She feels that women bring a special kind of praise. “Music is a major ingredient in praise and women have always been free to express their praise to God,” shares Mrs. Hawkins. “Women are more expressive, we take things to heart; when we see our brothers and sisters in need, we feel compelled to help. That’s why one of our main goals is to take the love of Christ and to share it with communities that are hurting and have been ravished by natural disasters.”
Here, First Lady Hawkins continues to share more insight into the making of the TOD Women’s Choir latest musical efforts:
TRIBUNE: When did the choir first start working on this project?
C.HAWKINS: “It was started in the spring of last year. We started with a vision and a desire to record the efforts of our wonderful women’s choir. Our women’s choir only comes together once a year. Some of these ladies were not members of the mass, youth or other choirs. Many were part of our regular church membership but these extraordinary people take out the time to prepare to sing just for one day, and that’s during our annual women’s day event. And as a result, the singing is always just superb! These ladies do an outstanding job. And they’re women of all ages and all walks of life and professions. The whole project became a reality once we started to get some songwriters; and then rehearsals began, with our first rehearsal being June 4, 2012. The live recording was done during our annual Women’s Day event on June 29, 2012. So that’s why we are so excited that it’s been exactly one full year to complete the project.”
TRIBUNE: How many ladies are in the women’s choir?
C.HAWKINS: “It’s over 225 members. Their ages range from age 16 to 85. With such a large amount of people, you can see this was a serious endeavor but The Lord smiled upon us and blessed us to complete it.”
TRIBUNE: Tell me about the CDs first single.
C.HAWKINS: “The first single EVERYBODY PRAISE, started charting the first week it was released. We haven’t yet reached the plateau we would like for it to have but we praise God that we’ve been able to maintain where we are. We’re striving the single makes it to the top ten on the charts. The song encourages the listener to just come on and praise The Lord no matter what you’re going through.”
TRIBUNE: I understand the choir recently taped a Bobby Jones Gospel TV show. What was that like?
C.HAWKINS: “I know the show will be airing sometime in October but it was a wonderful opportunity for us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have all of the ladies in the choir for the taping but it was quite exciting for us. I believe that when it airs many will be blessed who watch the show.”
TRIBUNE: In addition to providing anointed music, I understand the choir does a lot of volunteer work in the community.
C.HAWKINS: ”Helping the community is the endeavor and purpose of this project, as part of the church’s benevolence fund. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the new CD will be used to support various outreach missions. The women’s choir and the overall church reaches out to the local community, and families who are affected by natural disasters throughout the country and the world. When one of the earthquakes hit Japan, the church sent tens of thousands. When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, we again sent tens of thousands. In addition, we work with local shelters in various cities to provide non-perishable foods, supplies, clothing etc. we did the same thing when the tornadoes hit Oklahoma. When the hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast area in 2010, not only did we send supplies but we also had members who drove to the area to do volunteer work to help the people. They also have donated their time to local school development and teen pregnancy prevention programs and have supported other faith-based emergency relief efforts.”