The Herald Bulletin

March 1, 2014

Amazing voices unite in Anderson

Gospel Music Workshop of America brings local celebrities to area

By Traci Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Eloni Fitzpatrick clutched a microphone in her small hand, then belted music from her soul.

Fitzpatrick, 4, did not hesitate to take the stage and sing at the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) in Anderson Saturday evening. The workshop, held at the Greater Progressive Temple of Faith, 2026 Hendricks Street, featured several talented musicians in the state, including Fitzpatrick.

Although she might have been the youngest singer at the workshop, Fitzpatrick rocked the song she was singing as she shifted from foot to foot in time to the music. Dressed in tiny sparkling boots and with her hair piled on top of her head, she exuded confidence.

“She knew all the words, but when I looked down at her shoes I noticed she had her boots on the wrong feet,” said Pat Raymore with a laugh.

Raymore is the head of the Anderson, Muncie, Kokomo, Marion and Gary GMWA  chapter.

Several well-known artists were in attendance, including two of Raymore’s granddaughters who were in the musical group ‘Ten’ on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”

Other guests included Rodnie Bryant, director of the Indianapolis Metro Chapter of the GMWA.

Well-known in the gospel recording industry as a director, producer and music arranger for more than 30 years, Bryant lives in Indianapolis. He has been nominated for a Grammy, Stellar and Soul Train awards and has won the GMWA Excellence Award.

He is best known for his work with The Christian Community Mass Choir, the Indiana University Voices of Hope, the Indianapolis Symphony Choir and the Gospel Day celebration for the Indiana State Fair.

During the workshop, Raymore and Bryant announced the Anderson chapter would be merging with the Indianapolis chapter.

“Pat thinks we are turning the lights off,” Bryant said of the merge. “I think this will turn the lights up brighter.”

Bryant said his ultimate goal is to engage today’s youth in the musical world, including young people like Fitzpatrick.

“I believe music is not going to be final until we include the youth and the music they are involved in,” Bryant said.

After talking briefly with the group of people in attendance, Bryant briefly took the stage himself.

Sitting behind the piano, Bryant let the rich sound of the music he was playing wash over those sitting in the pews. Before long, crowd members were stomping their feet and singing along.

Bryant was lost in the moment, and so was everyone around him.

After his performance, Bryant said he wants to help aspiring musical artists reach their dreams.

“That’s how I got to where I am today,” he said, “because someone was pushing me.”

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.