My, these two years have flown by! Back in 2014 when I started my journey with Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, I didn’t know much about gospel music. In the beginning, I watched videos and listened to CDs, and while what I saw and heard was impressive, you really have to see the choir live to appreciate the full effect. I would have that chance a month later, briefly, at the Love Center when OIGC sang at the Community in Praise Concert. Seeing them onstage—a beautiful mix of races and ages standing side by side, voices raised to the sky—made me proud to be part of something so powerful.
When Mark, Terrance, and Briget took me to lunch on Wednesday and questioned me about my favorite moments, it was hard to pick just a few. Going to my first full-length OIGC concert in Half Moon Bay, attending my first holiday concert, seeing how the crowd went wild for OIGC at Art & Soul, dancing with my family at Slim’s on Christmas Eve. The first time I heard “Lord How Come Me Here?” live, tears streaming down my face, the first time I ever heard “Worth” and my body buckled under the weight of the emotion. My first rehearsal with the community choir, feeling the joy of singing with others. My first performance, first OICC concert, and of course, the first time singing on the Paramount stage.
But it wasn’t just the big events that has made working here so special. The everyday camaraderie and teamwork, laughing at staff meetings, getting excited over potential gigs, reading thank you emails from choir members, sharing chocolate with Briget to ease stress, and the thrill of Terrance bringing in leftovers. (Don’t be jealous!) Of course, reading and hearing how much someone was moved by a performance always made my day.
So while today, my last day as OIGC Office Manager, is rather sad, I know it’s not goodbye. They aren’t getting rid of me that easily! The calendar is filled with rehearsals and concerts and an upcoming tour. I know I’ll still probably get a little teary later. But I also know singing an OIGC or OICC song is a surefire way to lift my spirits. Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous things, Praise the Lord.