Glory to Gospel music
The Concordia Courier
By Kent Bewley | 11/10/2023
The beauty of singing a song of worship is undeniably empowering in a world of great emotion and struggle, and doing it in a group setting is even better. That is what gospel music brings to so many people of various backgrounds across the globe, whether they are Christian or not.
Gospel music is a genre of instrumental beauty that in modern times helps people feel spiritually strengthened during both good and bad times.
With famous songs such as “Amazing Grace,” “I Saw The Light” and “I Won’t Go Back,” gospel music has a rich mixture of artists who have embraced it. From old-era singers like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Aretha Franklin to modern musicians such as Kanye West, Alan Jackson and Chance The Rapper, there is no shortage of notable names who have sung the praises of Jesus Christ.
Originating during the years of slavery in America, gospel songs helped wrongfully enslaved people summon their strength through the darkest days. Moving northward from the Deep South after emancipation, gospel music gained popularity in big American cities such as Chicago and New York. Historically, the peak of gospel music occurred during the decades surrounding World War II as the Great Migration by African-American [Black] citizens in the U.S. spread the genre of worship songs nationwide.
Besides African-American roots, gospel music has connections to the Anglican church, which promoted songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Rock of Ages.” The four different kinds of gospel music are traditional gospel, urban contemporary gospel, country gospel and British gospel.
Traditional gospel music has close ties to the African-American Church and is known for their enthusiastic choirs, energetic hand-clapping and other musical traits. This kind of gospel music is sung by the members of the abbey west music group here on campus at both chapel buildings. Songs such as “House of the Lord,” “Firm Foundation” and “King of Kings” are sung at chapel services with traits of traditional gospel present on the stage and in the crowd.
Urban contemporary music is the most impactful gospel music genre in the present, as it has a strong influence from hip-hop and R&B. Songs of urban contemporary labeling include “Do It Again” by Elevation Worship, “Call the Name of Jesus” by Darwin Hobbs and “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship. Urban contemporary music is also performed by abbey west during chapel services at the CU Center and Good Shepherd Chapel on Mondays, Thursday nights, Fridays and Sundays.
Country gospel is most popular in the southern U.S. and sung by artists like Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton and Brad Paisley. Hits like “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Power in the Blood” and “God’s Country” make up the backbone of modern country gospel, which has a major hub in Nashville, Tennessee.
British gospel music is advanced by the Black community in the United Kingdom as it reflects the Caribbean and African ancestry of Black Britons. The most popular music group is the London Adventist Chorale, which was founded in 1981 and became popular in the mid-1990s.
Gospel music continues to remain popular for Christians and people of different religious views alike. The power of hearing worship songs can really lift up the spirits of somebody who is struggling. Local radio stations in the Southern California area that play songs from gospel artists include 100.3 K-LOVE and 92.7 KYLA. There is also a Spanish radio station associated with K-LOVE in the local area with the designation 107.5 FM, so if you like to hear gospel songs in a romantic language, that station is perfect.
Despite being overshadowed in pop culture by music genres like pop, rap and country, gospel music still has a massive following and can always provide hope when listening to it, whether
driving around in your car or at a live concert event that occurs many times a week. May the peace of the Lord be with you when hearing the beautiful songs that gospel music provides on any given day.
About Kent Bewley
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