New Rocky Valley Baptist Church of Grambling presented “Worships in Songs” featuring the Wiley College A Cappella Choir on Sunday. The choir performed classical and spiritual selections by Johann Sebastian Bach, Moses Hogan, William Dawson, John W. Worth III and Undine Smith Moore. Also, they performed Carol Cymbala’s arrangement of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Stephen L. Hayes is the choir’s director. He said a cappella singing has a heartfelt beat, rhythm and message.
“The unique thing about a cappella singing is it reaches from one heart to another heart. You can hear the beauty of the person through that voice,” said Hayes, who has been directing choirs for 24 years.
Demetrius Williams said that the choir was excellent. “They were phenomenal. I really liked ‘I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray.’ I liked the way he got into it. I could really feel the meaning of the song, his emotions,” he said.
Williams is a first tenor in Carroll High’s choir. The Monroe native has been singing in a choir since he was in junior high school.
Grambling resident Doug Porter said that the program was inspiring and brought back memories from his childhood days when he spent summers with his grandmother.
“My grandmother was a choir director, so I went to choir practice and listened to songs. I thought of that as I listened to the young man sing about segregation,” said Porter.
When asked about his favorite selections, he said that he enjoyed the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” but he really liked “I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray.”
The Wiley College A Cappella Choir has a rich history of singers and composers dating back to the 18th century. The Wiley Jubilee Singers, organized in 1897, were the first group of singers.
Julius Sumler is the pastor/teacher of the church.