Charlotte Folk Society’s next free gathering will take place Friday, August 14th, 2015, at 7:30pm, at Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue. Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free. Doors open at 7pm, and it’s strongly suggested that you arrive early. Donations are appreciated and essential to presenting the concert series in the Stella Center. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground-level door. Free parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, and a jam session follow the event.
Since 1956, the group Men Standing For Christ has been carrying forward the tradition of four-part harmony singing dating from the 1920s.
The group first formed with just five members at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, then located next to the campus of Johnson C. Smith University on Charlotte’s west side. The Rev. Leon Riddick wanted a men’s group to sing for Father’s Day. He contacted Deacon G. G. Glenn, who said he’d put something together, but he didn’t want to do all that work for just one day per year. The minister agreed to schedule the singers for four church services annually – but soon they were performing twice a month on Communion Sundays.
Men Standing For Christ performs songs in ways their grandparents would recognize and applaud. Gospel selections range from age-old to new, including standards, call-and-response, and recent compositions. Songs combine a spiritual passion with a dose of the musical diversity of the 1950s. Sharp-eared listeners will hear the roots of doo-wop, R&B, and rock and roll. Nineteen voices rise in rich harmony, accompanied from time to time by saxophone, keyboard, bass, and drums. Every member sings lead on at least one or two songs. Explains choral director Gary Carter, “Everybody’s got testimony.”
The men take pride in their harmonies, but above all, they sing to share this message with their audiences: “God loves all of His children.” Ever since its inception, members of Men Standing For Christ have sought to be positive male role models in service and stewardship. The group’s special calling is singing in prisons. As well, they visit the sick and perform in concerts. “We didn’t come for show or fame,” says the mission statement of Men Standing for Christ, “but we came to help you along this Christian Journey.”
Monthly second-Friday Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to holding Gatherings in the Great Aunt Stella Center.
Refreshments, a song circle, jam sessions, songwriters’ circle, and an Appalachian dulcimer group follow the hour-long concert; visitors are welcome to join in or simply listen. Free parking is available in the 4th St. Mecklenburg County parking deck, between Kings Dr. and McDowell St. Enter from the Stella Center parking lot or from 4th Street. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building.