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Experience the Real Soul Music of Memphis and Motown – July 19-21

July 10, 2013

There’s a reason they call it “soul” music, says Pastor Dwayne Hunt of Abundant Grace Fellowship.

Find out for yourself the weekend of July 19-21, 2013, when Abundant Grace Fellowship reprises last summer’s standing room only hit, Gospel According to Soul. The musical weaves the story of Jesus Christ through classic sounds of the 1960’s and 1970’s from Stax to Motown. Trust me (for I have seen the trailer), your soul will jump, your heart will sing, your mind will bend, your spirit will rejoice, your feet will tap, and the rest of your sweet self will have Dance Fever.

Gospel of Soul - 3

Non-Christians, questioners, seekers, and all manner of skeptics who love soul music are  welcome as well as believers, of course, but make up your mind to attend quickly. The production sold out last summer, and once is not enough to experience  Gospel According to Soul, so there will be crowds. Tickets are $20 (discounted for groups of 20 or more – that sounds like a plan to me) and can be purchased online, at the church, or at the door (but I wouldn’t chance waiting if I were you).

Jesus - Gospel of Soul

Pastor Hunt, whose diverse talents include musical theatre, wrote and directs the show. His first stage hit produced by Abundant Grace Fellowship, Many Thousand Gone, the Soul and Song of the Negro Slave, has become an annual Memphis tradition.

The impressive cast  comprises 23 members of Pastor Hunt’s flock and a sprinkling of guest stars. This year, gospel recording artist Jeffrey Murdock is Jesus. Memphis-born Tim Terry of the Tim Terry Experience, whom Memphis Stars Magazine calls “the epitome of soul in Memphis,” plays the pivotal role of Judas. Michael Adrian Davis of WHAL 95.7 is the “Candy Man.” Star performers from the congregation of Abundant Grace Fellowship include  Equoia Coleman (American Idol Season 2) portraying Mary Magdalene, Mike Barnes as Peter, and Pam Steward as Joanna.

Eddie and I discovered Pastor Hunt’s gift for stitching together evangelistic outreach with top-quality entertainment at last February’s run of Many Thousand Gone. We saw an announcement in the Tri-State Defender (what were you covering, Commercial Appeal and  Memphis Flyer?) and caught the only matinee performance.

It rocked my world.

When Pastor Dwayne Hunt says to his flock, “Hey, let’s put on a show!” it’s hardly the Mickey Rooney back yard variety. (If you understood that reference,  by the way, you are definitely in the target audience for classic soul music.) It’s more like, “Hey, let’s mount an original, knock-out, professional-quality musical drama that will blow everyone in Memphis away!”

Gospel dancers

Before the Many Thousand Gone matinee began, a trailer promoting  Gospel According to Soul played on an oversized screen. It was love at  first beat. I’ve been waiting ever since to experience this year’s run, and have blathered on about it endlessly to friends and sometimes complete strangers (ask Eddie). (Full disclosure: Pastor Hunt, whom we met at the February show, has generously invited us to attend opening night as his guests. Life is good. Nothing could have kept me away, anyway.)

If you go, prepare to be wowed. If you don’t, you will miss a powerful evening of theatre that could only come from Memphis, where we know the true meaning of soul music. Go to feel the “rhythm of eternity” and be fed with the bread of life.

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Gospel According to Soul opens on Friday, July 19th and runs through Sunday, July 21st  at Abundant Grace Fellowship. All shows begin at 7:00 p.m. Abundant Grace  Fellowship  is located at 1574 E. Shelby Dr., Memphis, TN 38116. Tickets are $20. Purchase online at www.Stage88.com, at Abundant Grace, or call (901) 789-GRACE (4722). Tickets will be discounted for groups of 20 or more. Clear Channel Communications and its local stations WDIA AM 1070, V101, and Hallelujah 95.7 FM are partners in this year’s production.

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