Longview choir to back up Big Daddy Weave
By Jim Hardin
Jan. 27, 2018 at 12:04 a.m.
Fifty members of the adult choir at Longview's Woodland Hills Baptist Church are in New York City, preparing for a Carnegie Hall performance Saturday night with noted contemporary Christian band Big Daddy Weave.
The Longview singers will blend their voices with 200 other members of a mass choir that will provide backup vocals during a concert on the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at the legendary Carnegie Hall. The True North Symphony will also participate.
Aaron Perkins, minister of music at the Woodland Hills church at 2105 E. Loop 281, said the mass choir will provide backup vocals for 17 songs. The band, he said, will perform six to eight other songs without the choir.
Choir members left Longview early Thursday morning. They traveled on a church bus to Dallas, where they boarded a flight to New York City. Two rehearsals each were scheduled Friday and Saturday before the 6:30 p.m. concert.
"The Lion and The Lamb" is the most recent hit single produced by Big Daddy Weave, which features Mike Weaver, songwriter and lead vocalist. That hit follows five consecutive No. 1 singles, including "Love Come To Life," "Redeemed," "The Only Name (Yours Will Be)," "Overwhelmed" and "My Story." The band has released seven full-length projects, amassed more than a million units in album sales and received many honors.
A Perkins family/East Texas connection played a big part in the local choir's invitation to participate in the concert.
Roy Hayes, who issued the invitation during a telephone call last August, told Perkins that he had known his grandfather, dad and uncles – "everybody who has been in music ministry."
His grandfather is Dale Perkins, who retired after serving 43 years as minister of music at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview. His father is Dale Perkins II, minister of music for 20-plus years at First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Texas.
Hayes is a native East Texan and a music ministry graduate of East Texas Baptist University in Marshall. He is managing director of True North Presents, which is based in Jacksonville, Texas.
True North is presenting the Carnegie Hall concert. According to its website, True North Presents "brings together musicians from across the nation to comprise the New American Chorus for world-class concert performances in the finest concert halls in America and abroad."
"Because of my longstanding relationship with the family, I knew it would be a good fit for them (the Woodland Hills choir) and us," Hayes said. "I'm glad we could offer them this Carnegie Hall experience."
After the telephone call from Hayes, Perkins mentioned the invitation to the choir to determine whether some members were interested in participating.
"I presented it to the choir that Wednesday night and in droves, I'm telling you, they came forward," Perkins said. "The interest was just phenomenal."
Perkins said they are excited because they know the band and its music. Big Daddy Weave presented a concert at the church about a year ago. Some members are excited for an opportunity to visit New York City.
But Perkins said an opportunity to scratch an item off bucket lists was the No. 1 response.
He said Paula McKinley, longtime pianist for the Perkins ministers of music, is one who expressed her bucket list excitement.
"She's a New Yorker, and one thing she's never done is sing at Carnegie Hall," Perkins said.
Joni Davis of Longview, a Woodland Hills choir member for 10-plus years, is excited about it all – traveling to New York City, performing on the same stage with Big Daddy Weave and crossing a Carnegie Hall appearance off her bucket list.
"I am beyond excited," she said this week. "When we were told about what was coming up, I started screaming, and jumping up and down. I was excited then and I'm still excited."
The trip will cost each choir member about $1,300. Davis said she held a variety of fundraising projects to earn her traveling money.
Perkins described why he is excited.
"It was an honor for me to be able to present this to the choir and then just the joy I received from their excitement," he said. "I was thrilled to be able to put that before them and for so many of them to respond in such a positive way."
Perkins gives God credit for the concert opportunity.
"The Lord laid it in our lap," he said. "He put it in our lap and we give him glory for it. We'll enjoy it for sure, but it would be a shame for us to forget where it came from. We still believe every good and perfect gift comes from our father above."
After the concert, choir members will go on a dinner cruise on the Hudson River. Sunday morning, they will worship at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
They will return home Sunday night.