Friday, January 15, 2016

Gospel Quintet takes the stage to kick off fourth season of Music with a Mission Concert Series - By Elizabeth Richards

The North Windham Union Church will kick off the fourth season of its Music With a Mission (MWAM) concert series with the engaging sound of Rock My Soul Five on Saturday, January 16th.

The five vocalists that make up Rock My Soul Five are the core of a larger gospel choir, Rock My Soul. The choir performs throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine, with a repertoire that spans a wide range of gospel music both historic and more contemporary.  

MWAM committee chair Jim McBride said that there hasn’t been a gospel group in the series to date, and he is excited to offer the experience to concert goers. “It’s a unique form of music which most people engage with,” he said. “With our typical audience, I think they’ll really resonate.”

The group is secular, meaning that although they sing gospel, the music isn’t preaching or conveying a religious message, said McBride. Instead, Rock My Soul Five focuses on educating the audience about the history of gospel music and how it evolved, including its roots in slavery and the civil rights movement. With the concert being held on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, the timing felt ideal, said McBride.  

 Rock My Soul Five is sponsored by ProjectMusicWorks, a nonprofit, arts and cultural organization whose mission is “to bring diverse communities and individuals together through life-affirming American roots and gospel music, and other forms of music that come from it. Through performance, charitable outreach, and other community-building activities, we seek to uplift, enrich, and educate.”  

McBride said the organization’s mission aligns closely with that of the concert series, and the nonprofit even uses the tagline “music with a mission” on their website and promotional materials. “It felt like there was some natural connection there that we wanted to explore,” he said.  

A portion of each concert’s proceeds is given to an area charity selected by the performers. Almost $28,000 has been raised at the first 29 concerts for support to the church and other community organizations.  
The community proceeds from this 30th concert will support ProjectMusicWorks, helping them bring music to those in need. ProjectMusicWorks provides high quality, live musical performances at nursing homes, hospice facilities, counseling centers and other community programs where people may not otherwise have access.

The rest of this fourth season is falling into place, though the complete schedule is not yet ready to be released. Just three weeks after the season opener, the Half Moon Jug Band will perform as the second concert of the season.  

The committee is striving for a nice mix for the remainder of the season, said McBride. Most of the acts will be new this year, with a couple of favorites repeated from past seasons. The committee strives to provide a good range of acts, mostly local, in a cost effective way to keep ticket prices low and still give back to the nonprofits and raise money for the church, McBride said.  

Tickets for Rock My Soul Five will be sold at the door and are $12 for adults and $10 for students, children, and seniors. Tickets are also available in advance on-line at . The box office opens at 6 p.m. and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The North Windham Union Church is located at 723 Roosevelt Trail in Windham. For more information, call 892-7149 or email

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