MEMPHIS, Tenn., (localmemphis.com) – Wednesday night, the NewOlivet Worship Center hosted a concert and dance performance at the Hallorancenter to start a new tradition of celebrating Independence Day.
The performance included The New Olivet Sanctuary Choir, TheL.Y.E. Dancers, and The America God Bless Orchestra.
Pastor Kenneth Whalum Jr. said Memphis is known for music and thisis what brings people from all different backgrounds, races, andages together.
“Patriotism is null as far as I’mconcerned,” Whalum said. “In the United States, we’re not doing avery good job of raising citizens and not doing a very good job of producingproductive citizens.”
This is the first annual America Bless God,Independence Day celebration to exhibit dancers, musicians, and singers fromall across the city of Memphis.
“We have this multi-racial choir, we got thismultiracial orchestra, we got this dance team,” Whalumsaid. “It’s so acrobatic and so professional and all these peoplecame together. Young black kids, young white kids, older blacks, older whites,to make a musical statement of love.”
Whalum wrote an original song, “America BlessGod,” which was performed by his son Kortland Whalum along with The NewOlivet Sanctuary Choir. The dancers performed an originally choreographed piecethat channeled a sense of patriotism and community.
Jaiden Wallace is a 10-year-old dancer with TheL.Y.E. Dancers and said dance can bring anyone from any walk of life together.
“Dance can be executed in many different typesof ways so it can bring a lot more people together,” Wallace said.
Singer Ellie Perry, who typically performs opera,was proud to be performing in her hometown of Memphis along with a diversegroup.
“Music, especially in my life, has brought myfamily together. All of my friends are musicians,” Perry said. “It’ssuch a sense of home for me, music is, and I feel like if we can bring moremusic to the world and to the country, we can make things a lotbetter.”
Whalum said he has many musicians in his family and appreciateshow music has he and his family closer and the city of Memphis closer.
The proceeds from the performance will benefitVisible Music College and Arrow Academy of Excellence Elementary CharterSchool.