The Herald Bulletin

July 12, 2013

Pastor's concert going from Broadway to gospel

By Margaret Maynard
For The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Few pastors have résumés that can mention the Newport Jazz Festival and a Broadway repertoire.

But the Rev. Sharon A. White, pastor of New Hope United Methodist Church in Anderson since 2009, can boast that and more.

She'll show her range at 6 p.m. Sunday in a program titled "From Broadway to Gospel," in which she will be featured along with a choir composed of singers from area churches. The concert will benefit programs at New Hope and be held at its facility, 611 E. 53rd Street.

Victor Raymore, minister of music at New Hope, will be one of the music directors for the Benefit Concert, along with his wife, Violet Raymore, minister of music at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church and his sister, Carol King, minister of music at The Church Upon The Rock. His mother, who has participated in the past will be singing in the combined choir.

"Rev. White is a great person and a very gifted singer," said Raymore. "This program is something that shouldn't be missed."

White is a graduate of Clark College in Atlanta, Ga., where she earned a major in music (vocal performance). While attending Clark College, she joined the United Methodist Church.

"Ten years later," said White, "I accepted God's call to enter the ministry."

She received her Master of Divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta in 1994.

Upon ordination, White moved to New Castle, Ind., where she served five years as pastor of Wiley UMC. She then served at North UMC in Indianapolis for six years.

White's performance background includes performing at Carnegie Hall for the Newport Jazz Festival with Dizzy Gillespie in 1975, recording with the Clark College Jazz Orchestra in 1978 and singing in a PBS film production of James Baldwin's "Go Tell It On The Mountain" in 1983.

In 2000, 2001 and 2003, White presented a concert in conjunction with the Spirit & Place Festival, an Indianapolis collaborative festival of the arts, humanities and religion. Excerpts from the 2001 Spirit & Place event, "Crossing Boundaries" as well as "An Evening in Song" from 2003 have been recorded on CD.

Last year, White gave a benefit concert for the Bloomington United Methodist Church and, this year, one of her New Hope choir members, Greg Brown, suggested she have a concert in Anderson.

"The suggestion was brought before our Church Council," said White, "and they voted unanimously to have it here."

Brown said, "Rev. White has always worked for the community and this is one way to bring the community together. I really enjoy being in the choir and being part of the concert. Everyone that can come needs to come. They will enjoy it."

"Rev. Gina Kirkland, pastor at New Horizons UMC is singing in the choir and the New Horizons Family is allowing us to use their facility for the concert," said White.

Some musicians adding their talents to the concert, in addition to Raymore (directing and playing keyboard), are Teddy Patterson (sax), Dion Sanders (drums) and Michelle Murray (piano). "Murray will be playing piano for me during the first half of the concert," said Rev. White.

A freewill offering will be taken at the concert to benefit New Hope with 10 percent of the proceeds going to The Gospel Highlights Broadcast Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner which has been sponsored by James Warner for 31 years, according to White. "We want to make sure that everyone who requests a meal, gets one," said White.

Carlotta "Jo" Walker, chairperson of the Staff Parish Relations Committee at New Hope and whose husband, Sam Walker, is part of the choir, expressed appreciation for their pastor.

"Rev. White has great leadership skills; she is a people person, very loving and giving," said Walker. "I'm looking forward to the concert. She has a beautiful voice, is a beautiful person all around, has excellent leadership skills and I have really enjoyed her as a pastor and community leader."

"She is not only our pastor within the walls of our church, she steps out and makes sure we serve within the community. That is what I would like to say I appreciate the most," said Walker.

If you go What: "Music From Broadway to Gospel" featuring the Rev. Sharon A. White with a choir of singers from Anderson area churches. Victor Raymore is musical director. When: 6 p.m. Sunday, July 14 Where: New Horizons United Methodist Church, 611 East 53rd Street, Anderson Admission: Freewill offering as a fundraiser for New Hope United Methodist Church.