A Black Swan gospel performance is a celebration! A celebration of the infectious spirit of religious music. A celebration of the variety of positive and optimistic systems of faith from around the world. A celebration of what unites us in our humanity. A celebration of the connection between audience and performer. A celebration that we are alive and kicking for a shot at another day. A celebration that all the musicians made it out of bed on time, usually, for the 9 a.m. down beat. Not too serious — a manner of celebration that might bring Snoopy to mind.
Featured on this recording is Black Swan's extraordinary vocalist, Marilyn Keller. Audiences worldwide appreciate her honest and heartfelt vocals. She sings in a variety of genres, but it is safe to say that Marilyn's roots are in spiritual music and there she is most at home. In concert, Marilyn tells of listening as a toddler to her father's gospel quartet singing selections such as "Operator" and "Amazing Grace" in the living room of her home. The music of these formative years is with us forever and greatly influences who we are. Marilyn's featured vocals leave no doubt as to where she comes from and who she is.
Alan Phillips joins Marilyn on several selections, singing lead or harmony. His heritage of listening to and performing various folk styles similarly shines through. "Church Rockin' Medley,” "Xian Medley," "Life is Like a Mountain Railway" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" also benefit from the collaboration of our guest vocal ensemble. MaryEtta, Sandra, Letha, Eugene and Amber were delightful to work with and an enriching addition to the production.
The Black Swan instrumentalists play a supporting role here. Our job is to provide arrangements, musical interplay and the foundation from which soloists and the congregation can sing at their uninhibited best. Plenty of jazz to go around, but definitely a focus on vocals. An exception are the intermezzi, which feature Steve, John, Ron, Ernie, Kit and Lew, singly or in pairs, and provide a chance for each to step forward and present a personal, musical statement in his unique style.
We invite you to "Feel the Spirit" as well, and celebrate with Black Swan.