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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Be Glad

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Mar
Be Glad
Sounds like … a powerful 250-voice choir that blends inspirational pop with high-energy gospel.At a Glance … as always, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has made a strong and inspiring album of energetic gospel and sweeping pop ballads.

Not surprisingly, this is yet another album born out of the September 11 terrorist attacks. But let's not forget where The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir comes from. Several of the members in the 250-voice choir actually worked in the World Trade Center towers, and while most were able to escape the buildings alive, many members of the church were lost in the tragedy. This makes the album's theme and title all the more astonishing in today's environment. It communicates that in the midst of turmoil, we can rejoice and Be Glad as believers because of the hope we have in Christ.

What I like best about this choir is the way they cross boundaries. Like the church to which they belong, the members come from all manner of ethnicity and occupation. What's more, they are neither as intense as your usual gospel choir nor as traditional as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Instead, they fall somewhere in between by blending traditional church music with pop and gospel. Director Carol Cymbala does a fine job of writing, selecting, and arranging music that stems from many different cultures. Yes, they handle gospel music with authority and enthusiasm, as heard on the bouncy and jubilant "It Was a Great Thing," the fast double time of "I Can Go to God in Prayer," and "He's God," which slowly builds from subdued pop to swelling gospel. However, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is just as capable of jazz-inflected pop ("Goodness of the Lord") and Caribbean-influenced gospel ("He Reigns"). Additionally, there are covers of Kirk Franklin's well-known and inspiring anthem, "My Life Is In Your Hands," and the Christian pop hit "This Is How It Feels to Be Free," originally performed by Phillips, Craig & Dean, which is given new life here by the large choir and horn section.

It's interesting to note how some of the song arrangements begin deceptively simple, almost cheesy sounding, and yet they end up sounding absolutely glorious by the end. If you're familiar with The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's past recordings, this isn't all that different from what you've heard. They don't tread into any new territory, but they can always be counted on for a powerful collection of songs and anthems. Carol Cymbala and the choir excel at bridging cultural gaps and inspiring the spirit with their uplifting and glorious sound