A few hundred delegates packed the W.L. “Jack” Howard Theater on Sunday night to worship in song on the first night of the 144th Annual Session of the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention. The 72-member choir, consisting of members from Monroe churches, was under the direction of Rev. John L. Russell, Jr.
Pastor Van H. Brass called the musical to order. His introduction was followed by the invocation by Pastor Oliver W. Billups, Jr. Pastor Raymond Gill, the Moderator of East Carroll Baptist Association, gave greetings and presented the choir. Later in the program, Pastor Kenneth Sapp gave the invitation to discipleship and closing remarks were made by Dr. Chris Gordon, Jr., president of the convention. Pastor John L. Perry, Jr., Moderator of the B.B. & O Association gave the benediction.
The choir sang 15 songs in three parts. They began with a Tom Fettke arrangement of “The Prayer”. They continued with: “Enter his gates” sung with soloist Melissa Riley, “The King of Glory” with soloist Carolyn P. Armand, “Ain’t He Good”, “Holy, Holy, Holy” with soloist Corine Henderson, “Even Me” with soloist Charlene Jackson, “When He Calls Me” with soloist Patricia Keys, “He is the Keepuh” with soloist Minister Tina T. Withers, “God will bring you out” with soloist Kema Dawson-Robinson, “All the Praises” with musical songwriters singing solo Dexter Moffit and Crystal Gayle Williams, “Not for Our Glory”, “A Change” with soloist Rev. Henry Yearby, and “Sold out for Christ” with soloist Muriel Finley.
A memorial period was held to honor the musical legacy of past convention directors and musicians. Pastor Ike Byrd, III led the memorial service to commemorate the contributions of Dr. Samuel Douglas, Dr. Roosevelt Pine, Gwendolyn Douglas, Nellie Moore, and Dr. C. V. Rodgers. During the period two selections were sang by a quartet including Janice Fleming, Andrew Hill, Patricia Keys, and Rev. John L. Russell, II. They sang a Donald Vails arrangement of “When we all get to heaven” and “Thank you Jesus” a song written by Dr. Roosevelt Pine.
Russell was assisted in directing the choir by Dexter Moffitt, of Calvary and St. James Baptist Churches, Rev. Seane T. Kelley, of First Missionary Baptist Church, David Starr, Sr., of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Charles Lacy, of Zion Traveler Baptist Church, and Terrance Smith, musician at True Vine Baptist Church. Moffitt, Starr, Robert K. Wright, Ahmad Smith, Pastor Michael Thompson, and Blake Wright played the music for the event.
Tabitha Johnson and Keyunna Massey coordinated the liturgical dance and flag twirlers that accompanied the choral delivery.
The choir included:
Sopranos: Carolyn Armand, LaShell Baker, Grace Dade, Carolyn Daniels, Janice Fleming, Violet Hampton, Mary Harris, Corine Henderson, Charlene Jackson, Tabitha Johnson, Angelina Jones, Mary Kendrix, Patricia Keys, Dorothy Mason, Verna McCrutcheon, Carrie McFee, Ashley Nelson, Mary Perry, Andrea Reed, Betty Robinson, Laura Roquemore, Candice Russell, Mary Shields, Joyce Smith, Sharon Thomas, Adrian Washington, Dorothy Washington, Dana Williams, and Andrea Wright.
Altos: Jennie Blue, Mary Boley, Cathy Brown, Joy Brown, Linda Butler, Angela Byrd, Pamela Byrd, Mayme Corbin, Kema Dawson, Frankie Eaton, Muriel Finley, Delondria Goins, Marcus Grant, Yolanda Handy, Jerissica Harris, Delanza Howell, Melissa Riley, Shirley Smith, Kim Stewart, Angelique Ward, Mamie Washington, Crystal Williams, and Rossie Williams.
Tenors: Brenda Brown, Eric Brown, Sharon Flintroy, Sharonda Highshaw, Andrew Hill, DeTerrius Johnson, Martha Johnson, Rosie Maxwell, Donterrious Moy, Jack Russell, William Smart, Jennifer Staten, Gus Washington, Tina Withers, and Pastor Henry Yearby.
Basses: Andre Howell, Ray Jordan, Charles Lacy, Larry Mason, and Kendall Woodfin.