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Vocalist and DHS grad to put on choral show

Singer William Henry Caldwell is returning to Demopolis to entertain residents and this time he is bringing some friends with him.

On March 22 at 7 p.m., Caldwell, a 1972 Demopolis High School graduate, and his Central State University choir will travel from Wilberforce, Ohio to perform in his native city at the Demopolis Civic Center.

“He is a former member of Eastern Star Baptist Church,” the Rev. Terry Gosa, Eastern Star pastor, said. “He had the desire to come back home as part of his 10- or 12-stop concert tour.”

So, Eastern Star Baptist Church, the Two Rivers Arts Council and the Theo Ratliff Center teamed up to make his dream a reality.

“This is a great opportunity for us to showcase one of our native sons,” Two Rivers Arts Council president Sarah Chandler Hallmark said. “We wanted to do everything we could to bring him here and we are real excited about him coming. I heard he was phenomenal.”

Caldwell and the Grammy-nominated and internationally acclaimed choir are expected to perform an array of music, ranging from Gibbons, Mendelssohn, Baker Hogan, Jones and Hall Johnson to traditional and contemporary Gospel music.

“He and his choir are well-known and I think it’ll be a wide variety,” Hallmark said. “We are trying to draw as many people as possible, especially with it being during spring break. We hope the younger crowd will come out as well.”

The chorus’ performance experiences include the Dayton Philharmonic, Cincinnati May Festival Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, and the Indianapolis and Cleveland Orchestras.

Their voices can also be heard on international recordings such as “The Best of Erich Kunzel,” “Gershwin Centennial Edition,” “Porgy and Bess,” and “Amen, A Gospel Celebration.”

“It was going to be held at Eastern Star originally, but we think we would’ve outgrown the church,” Gosa said. “So we moved it to the civic center. I hope it’ll be that much bigger.”

The event is free and open to anyone who wants to enjoy a night of great music, thanks to the sponsors and other local churches such as pastor James Dunn’s Morning Star Baptist Church, pastor Floyd James’ Evening Star Baptist Church, pastor Fred D. Moore’s Christian Chapel Baptist Church, pastor Willie Williams’ New Morning Star Baptist Church, and pastor Mitchell Congress’ Mt. Horeb Baptist Church in Faunsdale.

“We have pledges and donations from neighborhood churches,” Gosa said, “so, that way we can invite everybody who wants to come out.”