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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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OIGC Scores Big at Super Bowl 50!

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OIGC Scores Big at Super Bowl 50!

This past week the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir was blessed to perform for three Super Bowl events including Super Bowl City, NFL Experience, and the GameDay Fan Plaza at Levi’s Stadium. I never would have imagined having the opportunity to sing at such a high-profile event. Yet there was OIGC, all dressed up in official NFL gospel choir robes, singing our hearts out for the attendees.

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OIGC Brings Down the House in Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway

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OIGC Brings Down the House in Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway

When I was brought on as the Production Manager for the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir in September of 2013, the groundwork for the European tour had recently begun.  Almost 2 years later, after many hours of logistics, planning, and manifestation, I am pleased to say that the tour was a smashing success!

The members of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir described the opportunity to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival as a “bucket-list experience” and a “dream come true” and after hearing their voices lifted by the spirit at the Park Stage and at St. John’s Church, I’d say they can check that dream off their list.

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A Holiday Reflection

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A Holiday Reflection

 was 24 years old, just a year home from college, working an internship at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center while I was looking for a full time job... and my purpose in life.

At approximately 7pm that Saturday night, I was sitting in the rear orchestra section of the Paramount Theatre by myself, surrounded by grown-ups I didn't know. My boss and mentor, Anne Huang, had given me a ticket to the gospel choir concert that she was in.

I was about to experience my first Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir concert. 

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