Sunday, May 27, 2007

Teens Spark Revival of Central Baptist Church Genesis Choir

Members of Genesis Second Generation choir stand outside Central Baptist Church on Carver Street in Kingsport. After a few years of hiatus, teens in the church came to choir leader Bernard Goliday and asked him to revive the group.


Genesis members must keep up with their studies, have good attendance at practices, and make a pledge for self-betterment.


KINGSPORT — Bernard Goliday prepares to enter the sanctuary at Central Baptist Church, bragging about the involvement of the teenagers in a choir group that had been idle for a few years.
Just then, the singers gave a greeting only a conductor close to his performers could love. “Quit being late!” they exclaimed. He grins and shakes his head.
That bluntness best describes the formation of Genesis Second Generation at the Carver Street-based church.

"The ORIGINAL Genesis Choir Group started at the Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church on Maple Street, and Douglass Alumni Members Douglass Releford, Rolax Jones and Virginia Hankins, along with the members' parents, were instrumental in the group's tremendous sucess at that time. Although a few of the members of the Genesis Choir do attend Central Baptist, the group's members consist of youth from many churches all over Kingsport and the surrounding area, and they have been allowed to do their rehearsals at the Church Of The Great Commission, with the Reverend Matthew Thomas as pastor."))

Goliday says the kids felt an absence with the Genesis group participation level at its lowest in years, and they took a matter-of-fact approach to breathing new life into it.
“They remembered coming here when they were 8, 10, 11, 12 years old and seeing the original choir, and most of those students are gone now because of graduation and other things,” Goliday said.
“Bottom line, we had 35 students in the choir, and 30 of those went to college. And for a time there, we had a hard time getting the choir going again. Now we have a variety of ages, so the next generation can step up when this group leaves."
“Some had their own reasons for wanting to bring this choir back. Some were spiritual, some were wanting to be responsible or have more responsibility, but mostly, they enjoy singing and being together in church.”
Being a part of this group requires more than a good voice. Goliday has strict guidelines for Genesis members, including maintenance of their academic studies in middle or high school, good attendance for practices, and a pledge for self-betterment.
“That is part of the deal. They must promise me that they will go to college or earn a skill that they can use in life,” said Goliday.
“We practice three to four hours on Saturday, and the church and the pastor are all for what we are doing. This enriches them, keeps them involved in the church, and it has encouraged our young people beyond measure."
“Idleness can curse a young person, but if you get them involved like a project like this, it moves them to do things they never thought they could do. It builds their character and gives them confidence and hope.”
Nyashia Grady says a combination of reasons led her to Genesis, but being an example to others her age is a key reason she continues to practice and learn various songs and hymns in church.
“It’s fun to show others how Good God is and to Praise Him, and that other teenagers can Praise Him also,” Nyashia said.
Tyyonna Grady said the bar had been raised by the first group of Genesis singers, and it was now their turn to show the church family they were ready to take on the responsibility.
“I was touched by how that group sang on Sunday and at other events, and I wanted to be a part of that. It looked fun, and it was a way to witness to others. They led this church in various ways, and I wanted to do that for God,” said Tyyonna.
The group continues to work on song selection for various appearances at other churches and events throughout the summer.
Their next performance will be a fund-raiser for the Riverview Splash Pad and Jalisa Ferguson Park project. It is scheduled for June 9th at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium, beginning at 6 P-M.