is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Grateful! Jermaine Brown Recital May 20th at CCC


My choir friend Jermaine Brown, Jr. will be bidding fond farewell to Lexington this Tuesday, May 20th at 6pm, at Central Christian Church, with a recital he calls "Grateful."  
 
Jermaine's talent is beyond compare, his spirit is irrepressible and his voice will make your heart smile.  Please join us and wish him well!  
 
Courtesy of the "Celebrate YOU!" series, here is my essay about Jermaine for our Choir's celebration last year.  I hope you enjoy learning more about this up and coming star!  See you Tuesday!

https://www.facebook.com/events/380380928767061/

 
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“For the past two years I’ve began to really invest my time and energy into my relationship with Jesus and I’ve decided to get re-baptized here at Central Christian! I chose this church because I can feel the love in the atmosphere and every time I walk through the door my spirit is overwhelmed in the love. I’m so happy and excited to join Central Christian Church and to be a step closer to God. I love being in this choir. ….” – Jermaine Brown
 
Although he joined us last Spring, it feels like Jermaine Brown has been with us all along, doesn’t it?  With his easy going attitude and standout voice, he fits quite naturally in, sitting on the cusp of the bass/tenor sectional divide.  Jermaine has quite a story to tell, and he testifies so well, in this case it is best to simply listen to our choir friend as he witnesses to us..
“Well, I’m from Louisville, Kentucky - born and raised!! I went to a total of 8 different schools!!  For High school, I went to DuPont Manual Magnet High School and the Youth Performing Arts school as a vocal performance major (YPAS). YPAS is one of the 5 majors at Manual.”

“Why am I at UK?! Good question!  I actually was supposed to be at the Boston Conservatory.  It was senior year and audition season. I really wanted to move out of town and attend a conservatory.  I got a chance to visit and audition the Boston Conservatory for 4 days and I LOVED it.  I was absolutely set on going to this specific conservatory.  I got in, and received a big scholarship! But, the scholarship wasn’t enough.  1 year at the Boston Conservatory is around 60,000. But, I was so set on attending; I decided to look into loans.  My parents told me they were NOT co-signing for the loans, and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t take out the loans.  Now, just to take a few steps back, I had already auditioned for UK’s voice program.  I was admitted into the school and was invited to compete in the Alltech Opera Competition.  I received 2nd place which covers tuition, plus a stipend (thanks be to God!).  I didn’t want to stay in the state, so I rejected the offer.  I eventually realized that I couldn’t afford Boston and I made the final decision to attend UK.  And honestly, this has been the best decision for my career, thus far!  After graduating from UK I plan on going to a graduate program. Where?  I can’t answer that question. Wherever God wants me to go.  At first, I didn’t want to attend UK, but this is what he wanted for me and I appreciate and accept that. Now, all I can do is wait for him to tell me where to go, next. I know that this prospective school/ program will be just for me.  God is amazing, and being guided by Him is like no other."
“The first song I ever sang and LOVED was ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’. I don’t know why, but I absolutely adored this song!  My entire family knew I loved the song and would ask me to sing it at every family gathering.  I would even make my own rendition from time to time!"


Jermaine tells us he actually didn’t learn how to play any other instruments, “my voice is the only instrument I can ‘play.’  I really wanted to play the piano, but alas, I began taking voice lessons once I came to college (at the age of 18, 2 years ago). I wanted to take lessons in high school but I couldn’t afford them. But, once I came to college and received free lessons, I told myself to take advantage of EVERY lesson, because once upon a time they were not free  -- and soon to come, they will not be free.”

He names his favorite spiritual “is probably Watch and Pray by Moses Hogan. The reason why I love this spiritual is because of how simple, yet sad and expressive the song is.  There’s one melody and it’s repeated throughout the song.  This child, born in slavery, is doing the only thing a child can do - watch. The child asks the mom several questions in the song, “Momma, Is master gonna sell us tomorrow?”  “Is he a gonna send us down to Georgia” and “Oh momma, don’t you grieve after me?” Could you imagine having to face and ask these very questions to your own child, knowing that these very things will happen?  A sad fact about the second question: the deeper south the slaves went, the worse they were treated.  All the mother could do and say is ‘watch and pray’. This piece makes me appreciate my freedom and individuality as an artist and as an African American.  This piece is very dear to me.”

“One of the most special things about singing in the choir is being surround by the choir members.  Everyone is so loving, accepting and nice! I really feel like I have a church family - something I’ve not legitimately ever had.  I joined the choir in the spring of last year and I was a little nervous about trying to fit in (story of my life), but everyone made me feel welcomed.  It was amazing, you guys are amazing and I love singing with you all and I would not want to sing anywhere else!”

“My mom is married to a minister and my grandmother always took me to church as a child; I was baptized at a very early age.  I didn’t have a clear understanding of who Jesus is/was and what he meant to me in my life.  For the past two years I’ve began to really invest my time and energy into my relationship with Jesus and I’ve decided to get re-baptized here at Central Christian!  I chose this church because I can feel the love in the atmosphere and every time I walk through the door my spirit is overwhelmed in the love.  I’m so happy and excited to join Central Christian Church and to be a step closer to God.  I love being in this choir.  You guys make me so happy and warm, as a member. I love you all!!

As said before, it seems as if Jermaine has been in the choir all along.  He’s part of the family now, and apart from having the pleasure of singing with him, we also will get to watch as he comes to the water once again.  How many times have we had a chancel choir member baptized?  What a way to start off the year, Jermaine, God bless you!
 
Peace,
Kim Thomas

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