Grace Emmanuel’s ‘Legacy of Grace’ gospel Mother’s Day concert lifted the soul with song and praise!
Bishop Neal Roberson engages the audience at an amazing concert held this month at Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church! Photos by L.M. Land / Written by Tanya Terry “The Legacy of Grace Mother’s Day Concert” took place for the first time at Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church earlier this month, was packed...
Bishop Neal Roberson engages the audience at an amazing concert held this month at Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church!
Photos by L.M. Land / Written by Tanya Terry
“The Legacy of Grace Mother’s Day Concert” took place for the first time at Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church earlier this month, was packed with excited attendees, and according to the church’s pastor, will become an annual event!
Dr. Rabon Turner, senior pastor at Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church, whose grandfather was the organizing pastor of the church, told the Courier there were several goals for the concert. The goals were to give back to the community and offer an opportunity for the community to come to the church’s doors and have a wonderful church experience, as well as celebrate mothers and kick off the church’s 57th anniversary.
Originally, the tickets were going to be sold for $45 for general admission and $75 for VIP tickets.
“We decided midstream to just open the doors and make it free to everyone,” Turner said. “Our focus has always been to make our seniors comfortable and give back to those who are the least and the locked out and the leftovers.”
Elder Rudolph Stanfield Jr., a Detroit native, who is the minister of music at Grace Emmanuel, told the Courier all the artists who performed at the concert were his personal friends.
Stanfield, as a Grammy nominated and Stellar winning recording artist himself, as well as a gifted producer. He was personal musician for Aretha Franklin for about 30 years! In addition, he has produced, co-produced, wrote, arranged and appeared on more than 150 gospel albums!
Stanfield called performing for the Mother’s Day Concert “an exhilarating experience.”
To Stanfield, music is a “universal language and it affords us the opportunity to communicate to those we love how much we love them and honor them.”
The Canton Spirituals are Grammy-nominated and Stellar award recipients from Canton, Mississippi. They are largely considered “one of the greatest quartet groups in the whole world!”
Harvey Watkins Jr. of the Canton Spirituals talked about and honored his mother at the concert. He said his mother is the mother of four and recently turned 91, has a good memory and good health.
Watkins shared at the concert that his mother was schizophrenic. He talked about how Donny Hathaway, Grammy‐award winning singer and composer of pop tunes with blues and gospel undertones, such as “The Ghetto,” died after plunging from the 15th floor of his hotel room. His death was ruled a suicide. He was suffering from schizophrenia and depression and was only 33 years old.
Watkins said he talked about his mom “because it’s because of the power of God she’s still here.”
“I figure that that might help somebody that might be on the edge, or might be wanting to go over the edge,” said Watkins. “I want to let them know, if mamma can make it, they can too.”
Mississippi Native Bishop Neal Roberson had been touring with The Canton Spirituals and is a sought-after solo artist, as well. As part of the tour with the Canton Spirituals, Roberson noted they had stopped in or were making stops in Tennessee, Illinois and Mississippi.
“It was an exciting night to be featured at a concert in Flint, Michigan,” Roberson said. “It was phenomenal-great service, wonderful place!”
Roberson said after people not being able to fellowship in churches because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was amazing to be able to again celebrate Mother’s Day, which he said was about touching and love.
Ashley Jones, Aundrea Lewis, Adriann Lewis, Kanika Trigg make up the all-female gospel group RiZen. RiZen is a two-time Stellar Award–winning gospel music group that records both traditional and contemporary music. They are from Saginaw, and although they have performed around the world, they performed at Grace Emmanuel for the first time on May 13.
They’ve been to Germany; We’ve been to Korea, and we’ve done Italy,“ said Adriann Lewis.
She said during their first performance at Grace Emmanuel: “The energy was magnificent;” the church was “beautiful” and the pastor was “wonderful” for opening up the church doors.
Jones said the common denominator for all those present at the concert was praising God and praising God for the mothers.
The concert featured many other big-name artists, as well as very talented local performers.
Flint Resident Shana Rowser, who is in her 40s, attended the concert with her mother, Renae Banks-Rowser, a Grand Blanc resident, who is in her 70s. Banks-Rowser is Catholic and attends Christ the King Catholic Church, and Rowser was raised Catholic.
Rowser, a member of Grace Emmanuel, said it was truly a blessing to have her mother enjoy the Grace Emmanuel choir and come with her to her church’s incredible event!