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That Gospel Feeling

December 20, 2012

Oakland Interfaith Gospel ChoirIf your child is interested in gospel, you might consider the Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir, under the direction of Terrance Kelly, recently profiled in this column. He’s looking to enlarge this diverse choir; auditions are in January. This chorus in not exclusively gospel oriented, but that’s their signature, and they are absolutely transcendent. We went to the annual holiday concert last week and it was everything you might expect. And if you’d heard Destiny Knuckles sing, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” you’d have stood up in your pew in the Imani Community Church like everyone, in awe.

She made the song her own and demonstrated a range and facility that was stunning for such a young woman. And there were several other soloists with equal talent. What struck us was not the wonderful interpretation of a genre, but the way in which the music became transformative — in an uncertain moment in American history, the music made you believe in the great strength and solace to be found in community. For more information about auditions, go to

Mark MacNamara, a writer and journalist based in Asheville, North Carolina, has written for such publications as NautilusSalonThe Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Vanity Fair. From time to time, his pieces in San Francisco Classical Voice also appear in  Noteworthy examples include a piece about Philip Glass’s dream to build a cultural center on the Pacific Coast; a profile of sound composer Pamela Z and an essay on the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. MacNamara recently won several awards in the 2018 Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards presented by the San Francisco Press Club.  His website is

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