By Joel Hall
L.C. Clark and Dorothy Spearman-Clark, husband-and-wife music producers from Newnan, recently set out to establish the Atlanta Mass Choir, an organization the couple hopes will be a 600-member-strong, philanthropic choir ensemble.
For three days at Clayton County International Park, the couple will recruit members for their new, volunteer, gospel, performing organization. Auditions will take place Sept. 11-13 at the park's V.I.P. Complex in Jonesboro. Members of the Columbia Records gospel trio, Men of Standard, as well as other celebrity judges, will audition singers, rappers, praise dancers, and steppers to be a part of the ensemble, according to Clark.
L.C. Clark, a local church pianist who said he once opened for Stevie Wonder, said he and his wife are establishing the choir in order to reach out to youths, as well as the greater community.
"We need to have more [positive] adult examples in our community, particularly in the black community," he said. "There doesn't seem to be a lot of black entertainers standing up in our community and saying I want to empower black youth. We would like to partner with everybody who has the same mindset to empower our city."
The mass choir, according to Clark, will consist of six different subgroups:
· The Youth Choir, whose members will be between the ages of 12 and 17,
· The 12 Disciples, a young-adult ensemble of eight singers and four rappers (male or female),
· The Comfort Choir, a seven-member group that will perform at weddings, funerals, and detention centers.
· A 50-member, Women's Choir, that will sing traditional gospel and address local women's issues,
· A 50-member Men's Choir, that will perform as well as provide mentoring for young men,
· Praise Dancers and Steppers, who will inspire audiences with various dance and step routines.
"There are some people, who may speak in a different [musical] language, so we want to speak their language," Clark said.
According to Spearman-Clark, those auditioning will have a minute and 30 seconds to perform an "a cappella" number (sacred music or secular music without expletives) before three to four judges.
While hopefuls wait for their number to be called, they will have the opportunity to visit vendors behind the V.I.P. Complex, who will sell food and provide free health information.
Those chosen for the choir will be informed of their placement a week after the auditions. Rehearsals will take place about twice a month starting in late September or early October, according to the Clarks, and the group will be expected to perform four "signature concerts" a year, in addition to other concerts.
Spearman-Clark said she hopes the Atlanta Mass Choir will eventually become a charitable force within the community. "We want to be able to build homes for people who might not be able to afford housing," she said. "For people who can't get medicines for HIV, we want to be able to help them. We want to become a partner to all those who are doing any sort of service that is ultimately for good will, throughout the state of Georgia. Hopefully, while we are doing this, we will restore faith and hope to people."
There will be a $25 administration fee for all who audition for the choir. For more information, call (404) 300-3085, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.