Moving to Glory: A Gospel and Spirituals Concert

The First Baptist Church of Pittsfield and Berkshire Lyric are teaming up to present “Moving to Glory: A Gospel and Spirituals Concert” on Sunday February 15 at 3:00 pm. The program takes place in the beautiful and acoustically splendid sanctuary of the church located at 88 South Street in downtown Pittsfield. Proceeds from the concert will directly benefit programs of the Pittsfield Youth Commission. Pastor Sheila Sholes-Ross of First Baptist is the co-director of this important outreach.

Wanda Houston will be the featured guest artist, singing selections on her own as well as with the choruses. She is well known in the region for her cabaret and theatre performances, and this concert will mark a return to her gospel music roots. The 90-voice Berkshire Lyric Chorus will be joined by their own Blafield Children’s Chorus as well as the Berkshire Lyric Chamber Chorus. The select 22-voice a cappella chamber chorus is making its debut at this concert. The concert will be led by Berkshire Lyric’s Artistic Director Jack Brown and accompanied by Joe Rose. Berkshire Lyric soloists include Felicia Durso, Jacob Kerzner and John Demler.

Well known spirituals and old hymns will be heard in arrangements by Alice Parker, Robert Shaw, Phillip Lawson and Hall Johnson among others. Music includes “Down to the River to Pray,” Ain’t Got Time to Die,” “Abide With Me,” “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” and “Elijah Rock.” The featured composer is the late and legendary Moses Hogan, who grew up in New Orleans and was a friend of Pastor Sholes-Ross. She will also be offering commentaries and meditations throughout the program.

Berkshire Lyric is a family of choruses that was founded in 1963 by Robert Blafield. For the past few years they have presented their annual Masterworks Concert at Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall. Every December they present a sold-out Christmas concert in Stockbridge as part of the Main Street Christmas Weekend. This spring they will present an opera gala at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield. They will be joined by a quartet of internationally acclaimed opera singers, including three who make their home in the Berkshires: Maureen O’Flynn, Marjorie Dix and John Cheek.

Tickets for the February 15th Spirituals and Gospel Concert are $15 and are available at the door. Children are free. For more information call 413 298 5365 or visit