Photographs courtesy of Rahmaan Kelley
Article by Bobjohnson

Victorious Believers Ministries opened its doors Saturday to give us a sample of what heaven must sound like. Local Promoters Rahmaan Kelley and Detrick Duran brought the city together  on September 19, 2009 for the Divine Women of Praise and Song Concert at Victorious Believer’s Ministries at 624 Outer Drive, in Buena Vista Township, Saginaw.

Gospel fans from as far away as Detroit came out to enjoy the show, which featured Detroit gospel superstar "Kiki" Sheard. Kierra "Kiki" Sheard is a Grammy-nominated gospel recording artist. She is the daughter of gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard, who is a member of the gospel group The Clark Sisters.

Although Sheard was the headliner, most came out to see Saginaw native Jessica Reedy, who made a name for herself before judges and 2 million viewers a week on BET's Sunday’s Best, a gospel version of American Idol. Reedy, who came in second on the show, put on a first place performance at the concert Saturday.  With her praise meter set on Heaven, Reedy fought back tears as she sang a moving "God Smiled on Me."

Despite Reedy's stellar performance, the standout entertainment of the night came from Saginaw's gospel group Rizen. One word describes Rizen's energy— Explosive! They were also unpredictable! The energy Rizen brought with them could have opened the pearly gates from down here on Earth.

Sharnae Ruth set the standard as the show's opener, and hers proved to be a very tough act to follow. Excellent Praize proved true to its name. The group got listeners out of their seats and onto their feet. I enjoyed their performance so much that I sent a friend request on Facebook , which the group accepted, by the way.

The concert was hosted by former Saginaw mayor Wilmer Ham-McZee, who proved to be a gifted emcee, proficient in song and dance, and graced with a great sense of humor. Ham-McZee kept the crowd's attention between acts. She once called "Armand Kelley” to the stage, only to be slightly embarrassed after Rahmaan Kelley showed up to correct her: "For the record, my name is Rahmaan N’Kosi Kelley," he said non-offendingly, as the audience shared a laugh!

In addition to sharing Ham-McZee's good humor, Kelley, of Inner Prize Entertainment, knew the audience. He put together a balanced concert, one that included music for various ages, spanning the generations. For example, American Gospel Music Award-winning artist Gwen Goodman, aka the "Queen of Gospel," was also in the house, feeding the appetites of those hungry for traditional gospel. Goodman's soulful voice provided the concert with a level of maturity that only a respected matriarch could deliver.

Thanks to Inner Prize Entertainment, I have added a new genre of music to my iPod. Gospel music has also gained a a proud new fan— me! Next up for me is a free CD-release concert for gospel duo Taco & Jac, October 3rd at New Community Church, 3302 Grant St. Saginaw, MI 48601.

© Bobjohnson, 2009