Carl Cole’s celebration of love, life, liberty

A weekend centered on the youth of our community was an appropriate way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The joyful music of the Patriots’ Gateway Singers, the Camaraderie Arts Children’s Chorus, Dianna Cole’s ringing rendition of “His Eye Is On the Sparrow,” and Julian Swain’s “Signifyin’ Monkey” gave Carl Cole’s evening of celebration significance. Cole’s ability to evoke the best from children and teen-agers gives them the confidence to sing gospel and patriotic numbers with enthusiasm and fervor.

Veronica and Monique Harris, mother and daughter, opened the program with the Black National Anthem. Monique, as sometime director and lead singer of the Patriots’ Gateway Singers, displays the maturity and sophistication of a seasoned performer. A voice that rivals that of many adults brings a special meaning to gospel.

Cole has organized and directed the Gateway Singers for less than two years. They have made a demo CD and performed throughout the community, most recently at E. Faye Butler’s concert at the Midway Theater and at First Night.

The Cole family with Carl on keyboards, Andrew on drums and Dianna singing gospel and jazz, have become familiar to local audiences. Dianna acts as emcee, giving the program continuity, and in last week’s tribute to Martin Luther King detailed the highlights of a legendary figure in the Civil Rights Movement.

Others on the program were Valerie Carter singing “If I Can Help Somebody” with an introduction by Dr. M. Elizabeth Tardola and Robert Davis speaking the memorable lines from Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” followed by “Free At Last” by the Freedom Singers.

We left the Mendelssohn Club feeling a true sense of commitment to the values engendered by a man who had devoted his life to nonviolence and true integration.

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