(December 28, 2018): Singers of
all ages, races and faiths will perform in Singing The Dream, a musical program
to commemorate the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
featuring special guest artist Joshua Nelson, The Prince of Kosher Gospel. The program, to be held on Sunday, January
27, 2019 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 99 Taft Avenue in
Providence, RI will include a diverse selection of works including gospel
hymns, spirituals, Jewish hymns and contemporary compositions.
Singing the Dream 2019 will also include distinguished guest
speakers interspersed between the musical compositions, each offering a brief
and personal reflection on the life and legacy of Dr. King. Participants include the following religious
and cultural leaders: Rabbi
Wayne Franklin, senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El; Reverend Chontell
Washington, president, Rhode
Island State Council of Churches; Mr. Venson Jordan,
author of “The
Rebel Marcus Madison;” and Mr. Beau
Stubblefield-Tave, managing principal/co-founder, The
Center for Culturally Fluent Leadership.
Featured special guest artist for Singing The Dream is
Joshua Nelson, a soulful pianist, singer and recording artist known as “The
Prince of Kosher Gospel.” Born and
raised Jewish, Mr. Nelson is an African American from South Orange, N.J. who
was greatly influenced by Mahalia Jackson (the Queen of Gospel Music). Mr. Nelson is the creator of the “kosher
gospel” style of music which marries Jewish religious lyrics and meanings with
the soulful sounds of American gospel music.
While the word “gospel,” a Greek word meaning good news, is usually
associated with African-American Christian churches, the musical styling is
African, sounds that came from several African tribes, and developed as a tool
to escape social injustice and ultimately coined “Gospel Music.” These African
rhythms have been retained in the musical cultures of Black African Muslims and
Jews, and such soul-inflected vocalizations filled the Black Hebrew synagogue
Joshua Nelson attended as a child with his family, observant Jews who traced
their lineage back to Senegal.
When he was eight, Joshua Nelson discovered an album by
Mahalia Jackson in his grandparents’ record collection, and he fell in love
with her singing. During his teens and early twenties, he became widely
celebrated as a gospel singer continuing Jackson’s legacy. As he continued
studies of Judaism, including two years on a college and kibbutz program in
Israel. While in Israel, he clarified
his understanding that throughout history, Jews had always integrated Jewish
law and religious practices within the cultural context in which they lived;
for example, as Nelson points out, any ethnic style of cuisine can be Jewish if
it is kosher. Upon his return from Israel, Nelson began to apply this
understanding to music, beginning what has been called “a revolution in Jewish
music” by combining Jewish liturgical lyrics with one of America’s best-known
indigenous musical forms; thus Kosher Gospel music was born.
For Joshua Nelson, Kosher Gospel is a way to claim both
parts of his identity as a Black Jew. For his audiences, whatever their faith
or heritage, Kosher Gospel has been a revelation. Nelson passes on his musical gift as an
artist in residence at Jewish congregations across the country. Whatever the
venue, Joshua Nelson, the Prince of Kosher Gospel, brings people - and
cultures- together in joyous song.
“We are excited to bring Joshua Nelson to our Temple, and to
bring together people of all faiths to sing out in the name of social justice
in honor of Dr. King,” states Miriam A. Ross, Esq., event founder/producer and
member of Temple Emanu-El. “Singing The
Dream is about bringing people from all walks of life, faith, race and
nationality together to celebrate diversity, encourage inclusion and cultivate
the human connection. We will sing out
in harmony and unity, reflecting not only Dr. King’s goals but our hopes that
the change he inspired continues to ever-widening spheres. Music can bring everyone together.”
For more information about Singing The Dream 2019, contact
Miriam A. Ross, Esq., Temple Emanu-El, 401-331-1616. The Singing the Dream is a ticketed concert
open to the public and all are invited to attend. Tickets are $18 in advance and $25 at the
door and can be purchased online at www.singingthedream2019.eventbrite.com. Seating is General Admission.
Singing the Dream is an annual community-based event
sponsored by Temple Emanu-El and Central Congregational Church to honor Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. through music and song. People of all ages, races and
diverse beliefs from local churches, synagogues, community choral groups and
the community at large will sing on this special afternoon. This signature and unique civic and cultural
event brings people of all faiths together to create beautiful and moving music
that touches the heart of Dr. King’s message.
Singing the Dream 2019 will be held on Sunday, January 27, 2019 from 3:00
p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El located at 99 Taft Avenue in Providence,
R.I. General admission tickets are $18 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets
can be purchased at online at www.singingthedream2019.eventbrite.com For more information, contact Miriam A.
Ross, Esq., Temple Emanu-El, 401-331-1616.