Gospel music reaching out

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - "Everyone happy and lets sing our best," said music director J. Bass to the community choir, True Labourers of Christ. Bass knows he can't be a child again, but he's restoring what shaped his life. "There's a rich heritage of gospel music here in the Lufkin area and for some reason it's like it's fallen off in the past few years and one of my goals and dreams is to bring it back," reflected the Lufkin native.

The preacher's vision is musicians sharing their talents through workshops and community choirs. Of all the genres, gospel music is the best choice. "You got jazz. You got blues. You got a little R & B," explained Derrick Hizkman, a drummer.

Bass breaks into song. "He'll make a way for me and you," he sings out. The songwriter wants gospel music to unite East Texans during difficult times. "In our economic times that song reaches right to your soul and all of a sudden all those things you're going through seem a little mediocre," said Bass.

The clinician's connections from Houston to Tyler help form the community choirs, but bass is relying on a direct line to his savior. "When I sing gospel music or when I hear it, it usually meets me right where I am spiritually," shared Bass. And that's passed on to future generations.   "It's the unity in faith and how it really keeps us together," said Brianna Roper, 14,  a visitor from Houston who sang with the choir during a district meeting.  "Some of the songs they really speak to you," said Kelsey Walker, a confident 8 year old from Laneville.

And that's the goal of gospel music. Bass shouts out, "We'll make a way. Oh, yes, we will."  Bass is wanting all choirs, no matter their denomination or ethnicity to contact him so the love of music can be shared at gatherings and workshops. He's wanting to record a CD with as many East Texas voices on it that he can find. www.myspace.com/truelabourersofchrist  , jbass200000@yahoo.com  , truelabourers@yahoo.com