5th July 2017

Sunday evening 2 July, 2017 proved to be an evening of absolute solace for those who gathered in the Aberdeen Street church in Birmingham. Mike Johnson presented to the intrigued audience, the Aeolians Gospel Choir, who hail from Oakwood University, Huntsville, Alabama, in the United States.

Much could be said about this prestigious choir, the 2012 World Choir Champions, under the direction of Dr Jason Max Ferdinand. However, many in the audiences were there to support two of the choir members in particular as they were raised and reared in the West Midlands. Jeharna South, a member of the Pendeford church in Wolverhampton and Naomi Parchment, a member of the Handsworth church in Birmingham, were welcomed home and encouraged by choir-2family and friends alike.

Applause punctuated the moment that both spoke emphatically in gratitude to the well-wishers and relations who had supported them tangibly and through prayers all the way thus far on their journey in faith through their Oakwood University experience. Naomi testified that, "We came to Oakwood with not a lot of money but a lot of faith, and God has just blown our minds!" She stated, "there is no other place like Oakwood, where there are like-minded people and black educators."

Jeharna, emphasized the fact that the presence of family, friends and church family at the concert was more appreciated than those in attendance would ever really understand. Both members of the Aeolians Choir declared how much God has been good to them. The emotion with which they spoke was heartwarming.

It was evident that choirtheir parents, Paul and Ruthlyn South and Kenneth and Lorna Parchment, felt that their sacrifice over the years was indeed worthwhile, in order for their daughters to receive this Christian education at Oakwood.

Dr Patrick Herbert, pastor of Pendeford church and as one who has ministered to the Parchment family over the years, appreciated the fine quality of music from the choir and the testimonies that the homecoming choir members had brought and stated, "No finer Sunday evening could have been experienced anywhere in the West Midlands as the name of God was lifted up and praised in a magnificent way."

When the Aeolians took to the stage, they sang with power and pathos, embodying every sentiment of their music. When they swayed in expression, a sense of dread and awe came over the listener. It could not be overlooked the fact that we were drawn heavenward as the choir climaxed with Stephen Adam's 'The Holy City' with those powerful words written by Frederick E Weatherly. The harmonious blend of male voices which came from the stage, and the female melodious voices which were projected from the balcony, added to the sense of elation and exultation.

Thanks be to God for this wonderful gift of music brought to us by the Aeolians Choir.


[Patrick Herbert]


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