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Oh What A Night! OICC's 5th Annual Summer Concert

OICC with guest artist Ms. Jackie Tolbert

Oh what a night!!  Of course, this is a completely biased review of the evening given I was one of the earlier members of the Oakland Interfaith Community Choir (OICC) that began in 2014.  But there are some things that are undeniable; the house was full, the music was infectious and many of us could not stay in our seats throughout the evening.  I’m so proud to see the choir now 100 plus strong but still representative of the diversity of who we are as unique individuals, unified by the common desire to lift up each other and all those within earshot with anthems of joy, hope, and love. Watching from the “stands”, there was a sense of envy that I was not with my OICC peeps, but being on the receiving end of OICC’s presence and vocal energy more than made up for it.   

It’s a tradition to kick off the concert with a spiritual and OICC wowed the audience with “Thy Way”.  The challenging acapella arrangement had several difficult movements and was handsomely directed by Paul Daniels.  The altos anchoring and holding out strongly on that final single note brought gasps amongst us in the crowd.  OICC honored the life and music of Edwin Hawkins by busting out with “He’s Alright” and “O Happy Day”.  I could literally feel the joy and energy of the choir igniting us to sing and celebrate with them and we happily obliged.  Special guests Rebel and SWAG treated us to laughter, endearing singing, as well as powerful messages of change and acceptance.   Jackie Tolbert mesmerized and took us to church with “He will Supply”.  What a treat to watch Terrance and Jackie doing a gospel tango of improvisation as the choir responded enthusiastically to Jackie’s testament of God’s faithfulness.  Of course by night’s end, we were all in the mood to dance and Terrance obliged by literally making ALL of us dance while Jae did an awesome job directing.

Terrance keeps challenging OICC to higher levels of excellence so as not to be content to be just another good community choir.  I thought last year’s concert was the best, but each year, OICC continues to outdo itself.    I’m so grateful to Terrance and the Oakland Interfaith family of choirs that my wife, Cynthia and I, are blessed to sing in.  I’ve made so many new friends from so many different walks of life that is enriching my life journey now and will continue to do so for years to come.  Oakland Interfaith is more than just a choir, or singing.  It is family.  It is a movement of positive change, peace creation, and love sending and I’m deeply honored to be a part of this distinctive assembly.

Gene Ho
Tenor, OIGC
Former tenor, OICC

Gene with his wife, Cynthia in front of the Paramount Theatre - Oakland, CA

Gene with his wife, Cynthia in front of the Paramount Theatre - Oakland, CA

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This Is Not Goodbye...

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This Is Not Goodbye...

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...

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Everyday Heroes: Terrance Kelly

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Everyday Heroes: Terrance Kelly

My family came to visit me and my husband over the holidays.  On Christmas Eve, we gobbled down spaghetti and meatballs, then headed into San Francisco for the OIGC ensemble show at Slim’s. My family had never heard the choir before, and they were blown away by the performance. (Rightly so!) They were especially impressed with my two favorite songs: the get-up-and-dance “Jesus Will” and the tear-jerking “Worth.”

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An Electric Evening with the Community Choir

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An Electric Evening with the Community Choir

Electricity filled the air at First Congregational Church on June 13th.  The community choir had performed there in April as part of the free spring musical, but this time was different. We had worked hard to spread the word about the show, rehearsed until we had our parts down pat.

After arriving, everyone I talked to was smiling and happy and ready to sing. With a successful sound check under our belts, we quickly ate then donned our stoles and bowties, adjusted lipstick and hair, grabbed a last drink of water. Right before it was time to file in, we circled up with the two visiting choirs, and Terrance led us through prayers for a joyful evening filled with peace and love. We held hands, sharing good thoughts with each other.  I could almost sense the energy slipping out the doors and into the Oakland night.

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