Traveling on East Canfield Street, I note the dramatic presence of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (1892), which served the German and Italian communities of Detroit for decades.
I continue past the remnants of dense frame housing, and arrive at the Holy Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church
at the end of the block, a much smaller but well-attended church.
The front sidewalk is abuzz with people coming and going, the building is vibrating with live music
and the house is packed.
On this day, the Holy Tabernacle serves as the venue for a Sunday afternoon gospel musical event dedicated to Ann Alston. Ann is a longtime gospel music promoter and publisher of Christian Happenings, an annual publication outlining the year’s musical activities in Detroit’s gospel quartet community. Each week, gospel revues feature live performances by 4-6 quartets.
I walk into a pounding performance by The Stairway To Heaven, who sweat out the lyrics of their three-song set. Ann sits in the front pew smiling all the while as the musicians work through their program.
The next performing quartet is the Sons of Heaven with a very dynamic Mickey Redman in the lead.
Once he gets going, it is hard to get him to stop.
I have little time to visit this day. But nearly every Sunday afternoon in Detroit you can step into a welcoming environment that presents some of the nation’s best gospel quartets. It is this foundation of national musical culture that continues to place Detroit on the international map for producing excellent musicians, and is the very soul of the Motown Sound.
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