News

Dec 16, 2012 - Dr. Crutcher and the Gospel Music Workshop Choir featured for the Holidays

Annual Holiday Gospel Show this Sunday at the Jazz Hall

            Dr. Crutcher and his gospel-music group have been educating and entertaining audiences in and around Tulsa for many years now, with a regular part of that work being done annually from the stage of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

            “I was inducted [into the Jazz Hall] in 1991, and I started doing a holiday gospel show then,” he says. “That was back when it was over at the Greenwood Cultural Center. I’ve been doing it ever since.

            “We do different aspects to educate the Tulsa public concerning gospel, blues, and jazz. So we do workshops in the high schools, do gospel revues with different people from around the country. For the past five or six years, maybe longer, we’ve been doing this concert at the new location for the  Jazz Hall of Fame with the Gospel Music Workshop of America/Tulsa Chapter. The Jazz Hall’s support of our music community makes a big difference in the work we do.’The Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc. was founded in 1967 by the Rev. James Cleveland, perhaps the major driving force in modern gospel music, and well-known gospel performer Albertina Walker. Described on its website (www.gmwanational.net) as “a non-profit, interdenominational, interracial, non-sexist oriented, international association of gospel singers and musicians,” the group holds a yearly convention that draws some 20,000 delegates to education and performance opportunities.

            The mission of these delegates, and the chapters they belong to, is “to preserve the heritage of Gospel music in America, while providing a forum for the development of excellence in the presentation of Gospel music. Further, to increase opportunities for the perpetuation of Gospel music throughout other industries, arenas, and the world.”

            “In Tulsa, we’re one of probably 250 chapters in the United States and Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, and Canada,” Crutcher says. “They’re all out there doing the same kind of thing that we’re doing. Go to that website, and you’ll see all of the different things that are taking place with the chapters all over the United States and in foreign countries.”

            For Sunday’s show, Crutcher says that the choir will include at least 20 vocalists. They’ll be joined by another Tulsa-area group, the GPW Boys.

            “They’re a group of male singers and musicians who do sort of contemporary traditional gospel,” he says. “They’re going to be our featured guests this year. We’ll have them open up the second half of the show for us.”

            Crutcher promises that both his group and the GPW Boys will offer the Jazz Hall audience “some real toe-tappin’ gospel music,” but he adds that those of other faiths will be able to enjoy the proceedings.

            “The music will basically relate to the Advent, and to the Christian message, the good news of Jesus Christ,” he explains. “But we’re very aware of the diversity of beliefs we have in Oklahoma, and we focus on a positive holiday message, because we want to draw people from all over-from the Muslim community, from the Jewish community, from all religions. I just graduated from Philips Theological Seminary with my master’s degree in Christian theology, so I’m very aware of different world religions. We’re real conscious of that.”

            “A lot of times, people don’t always listen to the words, anyway,” he adds with a chuckle. “They just listen to the beat – which is comparable to jazz and blues and most secular music.” 

            The concert begins Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St. Tickets can be purchased at the Depot or by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609. General admission is $15, reserved table seating $20. Seniors and Jazz Hall members are admitted for $10, and high school and junior high students for $5.  Refreshments will be available for purchase.

            The Gospel Workshop of America/Tulsa Chapter’s show is a part of the Jazz Hall’s Winter Concert Series.

            The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans through preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.


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