MEMPHIS, Tenn., (localmemphis.com) – Wednesday night, the New Olivet Worship Center hosted a concert and dance performance at the Halloran center to start a new tradition of celebrating Independence Day.
The performance included The New Olivet Sanctuary Choir, The L.Y.E. Dancers, and The America God Bless Orchestra.
Pastor Kenneth Whalum Jr. said Memphis is known for music and this is what brings people from all different backgrounds, races, and ages together.
“Patriotism is null as far as I’m concerned,” Whalum said. “In the United States, we’re not doing a very good job of raising citizens and not doing a very good job of producing productive citizens.”
This is the first annual America Bless God, Independence Day celebration to exhibit dancers, musicians, and singers from all across the city of Memphis.
“We have this multi-racial choir, we got this multiracial orchestra, we got this dance team,” Whalum said. “It’s so acrobatic and so professional and all these people came together. Young black kids, young white kids, older blacks, older whites, to make a musical statement of love.”
Whalum wrote an original song, “America Bless God,” which was performed by his son Kortland Whalum along with The New Olivet Sanctuary Choir. The dancers performed an originally choreographed piece that channeled a sense of patriotism and community.
Jaiden Wallace is a 10-year-old dancer with The L.Y.E. Dancers and said dance can bring anyone from any walk of life together.
“Dance can be executed in many different types of 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 diverse group.
“Music, especially in my life, has brought my family together. All of my friends are musicians,” Perry said. “It’s such a sense of home for me, music is, and I feel like if we can bring more music to the world and to the country, we can make things a lot better.”
Whalum said he has many musicians in his family and appreciates how music has he and his family closer and the city of Memphis closer.
The proceeds from the performance will benefit Visible Music College and Arrow Academy of Excellence Elementary Charter School.