“It’s an opportunity for musicians and singers to come together and further develop the skills they use in the ministries at their own churches,” explained Dave Herring, a member of Talladega First United Methodist Church.
Herring has been working with the orchestra that will perform at the event, and his wife, Susannah, will lead the multi-congregation choir.
Dove Award-nominee Richard Kingsmore, who is known nationally for his work as a Christian music arranger and orchestrator, will direct the orchestra on the day of the event. Kingsmore has arranged popular Christian songs like Chris Tomlin’s “Our God,” “Jerusalem with the Holy City” and “Victory in Jesus.”
“He doesn’t normally come to little towns like Talladega,” said Valorie Cooper, a choir member at Talladega First United Methodist Church who helped coordinate the event.
Aside from putting on a good show, one of the goals of Afternoon of Praise is to bring Talladega churches together in worship, regardless of denomination.
“Music has a way of connecting people,” Kingsmore said. “We’re pulling the talent that is there in all the churches.”
Cooper agreed, adding the church choirs have been practicing individually for the past few months. The choirs began practicing together in July, and will participate in a workshop with Kingsmore the Friday and Saturday before the performance to “finalize and polish.”
“We have not had this many singers come together in Talladega before,” Cooper said. “It takes something like this to bring people together, and it’s just so exciting.”
The event will benefit two local ministries. All proceeds from tickets sales will go to The Red Door Kitchen, which serves about 10,000 meals every month to low-income, homebound senior citizens and homeless adults. Guests to the event are also asked to bring a bag of nonperishable food items to help support The Samaritan House, an organization that serves low-income people in the community.
“This community of churches and people involved really care about this city and this community,” Kingsmore said. “An event like this really has the ability to bring the churches together in worship, and to be able to give collectively to these ministries.”
Herring and Kingsmore agreed the performers and local ministries will not be the only ones to benefit from Afternoon of Praise. They say the audience won’t leave disappointed.
“It’ll be extremely high energy. The music will be very, very exciting,” Herring said. “If you come with an open expectation of having a great music experience, a great worship experience and impacting people in the community, you’ll have a great time.”
Kingsmore said the audience will be invited to get up and sing along to some familiar songs, in addition to learning a few new ones. With a wide variety of music styles, from gospel to rock, the Afternoon of Praise should offer something for everybody, he added.
Cooper said the churches involved aim to do more than entertain.
“We hope to touch people’s souls, and let them know God loves them.” Cooper said. “We hope they come, have a good time, enjoy a professional performance, and leave inspired and uplifted … and knowing they did something to help The Red Door Kitchen and The Samaritan House, something to support our local community.”