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Gospel Music

             Commentary on documentaries.
             Gospel music, with its roots in Sunday school hymns, camp meeting spirituals, and the melodies and harmonies of popular music is one of the major contributors to the Jazz. In Gospel music, there is usually a chanter who is a choir leader. That person must have a good voice that could carry. Although the choir sang mostly hymns, psalms, and folk songs, some of the songs they sang were used as alert songs, songs that have a double meaning referring to the Underground Railroad. In class, we watched several documentaries on gospel music, but two in particular caught my attention. First, there was the performance in Carnegie Hall by Kathleen Battle and Jessie Norman, and second there was the documentary about celebration of gospel music in the Quinn Chapel. .
             The concert that took place in Carnegie Hall has two main performers and a large orchestra conducted by James Levine. The two singers were Kathleen Battle and Jessie Norman. I have to say that those two singers astonished me with the power of their voice. They have distinct voices one from the other but both are equally impressive and compliment each other well as we heard when they were interpreting "Scandalize my Name." I found it very innovative when Kathleen Battle sang "Little David Play on Your Harp" and there was really someone who played the harp. She could have very well sung it without the harp but I found that it added to the overall effect to the song. However, my favourite part of the show was when she sang "Swing Low Sweet Chariot." This is a song that I learnt in grade school. We had learnt a few alert songs at my elementary school but this one is the only one I remember. When we first talked about alert songs in class, I immediately thought of this song so when I heard it in the film, it brought back many memories.
             The second video documentary that marked me was the one hosted by Patti Labelle that took place in Chicago's Quinn Chapel.

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