"You have to audition to be in the Spelman Glee Club, Mama," my daughter said, sounding exasperated when I called Monday to see if she sang with that group when she was a student at Atlanta's Spelman College. "I've told you that before. Have you heard me sing?"
Why yes, I have, and it turns out there's no way my daughter, who sings like her mother, could even stand on stage with that choir.
My daughter performed in the 1990s with another Spelman group, the New Life Inspirational Gospel Choir. Her voice was drowned out by the dozens of other voices in the choir.
Turns out, voices aren't supposed to get drowned out in the Spelman Glee Club.
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That means when the glee club performs at a benefit concert at the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center on Sunday, the audience will be in for a serious musical treat.
Proceeds from the concert will go to St. Peter Claver Catholic Church and its many missions. The concert marks the second time the glee club has helped "the small church with the big heart," said the Rev. Norman Fischer, referring to St. Peter Claver, at Fourth and Jefferson streets.
The first time was three years ago when Spelman's department of music chair and glee club director, Kevin Johnson, agreed to stop in Lexington with the group during a return trip to Atlanta.
On a mission trip during their teen years, Johnson and his wife had worked here and remembered it fondly. So when church members, who met him during a 2007 meeting of the National Black Catholic Congress, asked him to bring the women to Lexington for a concert, he agreed.
This year, Lexington will be the club's first stop on its spring tour.
James Weathers Sr., parish life director, said, the church will feed the 44 young women after the concert and provide motel rooms for their overnight stay. Although The Lexus Store of Lexington has agreed to be a sponsor, Weathers said the church could use a few more.
Proceeds from the concert will go toward basic medical services for the homeless and uninsured, which are provided in the church's basement once a week through St. Joseph Free Health Clinic, Fischer said.
The church's parking lot is filled with those seeking medical aid, starting at 8:45 a.m. each Tuesday. There have been times, he said, when a patient has been taken to the hospital for emergency treatment.
The church also maintains the St. Martin de Porres Clothing Bank, hosts Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and prepares sandwiches for the Hope Center.
Weathers said church members make 150 sandwiches twice a week for the Hope Center's mobile unit, which goes to those who won't or can't come to the center.
Also on Tuesdays, the church opens its clothing bank from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. so those who need medical help also can pick clothing. The clothing bank also is open from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.
God willing, proceeds from the concert also could help the historic church renovate its facilities to better accommodate an expansion of its ministries in the inner city.
In addition to the Spelman Glee Club, the Lexington Catholic High School Spiritual Octet will perform, Fischer said, "and they are good."
The glee club will sing a repertoire of sacred and secular choral compositions, including traditional spirituals and music from many other cultures.
Tickets are available at the door, but the Lyric ticket office can accept cash only.
"I think this is something nice for the community," Weathers said, "even if we don't make a penny. Bring the young ones so they can hear a different kind of music than they are listening to."