Music Review: Mystic Chorale Live in Boston

Gospel music’s universal appeal allows it to embrace other genres while simultaneously reinterpreting styles. Dozens of humans channeling the vocal power of Niagara Falls with festive emotions reaching out to the heavens is an exquisite experience.

Be it the sublime presentations of Walter Hawkins, the ecstasy of his older brother’s Edwin Hawkins Singers with their timeless Oh Happy Day! or the sterling arrangements of Doris Troy (of “Just One Look” and Dark Side of the Moon fame) the uplifting vibrations are what attract people from all walks of life to find some celebratory renewal, especially on a cold winter’s night.

The Mystic Chorale, led by Jonathan Singleton, performed their annual concerts on Saturday March 1, 2014 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 2 at 3:30 PM at Converse Hall, Tremont Street in Boston.

Dedicated to the memory of Pete Seeger his “If I Had a Hammer” was spotlighted towards the end of a concert. The show commenced with Holland Davis’ “Let It Rise” followed by Israel Houghton’s “You Are Good” with a tremendous solo by Alex Rias. The choir swayed right to left bringing the audience to participate in the feel-special message of the song. A traditional spiritual arranged by Singleton, “I Want to be Ready” featured Alan Rias soloing. The Mysic Gospel Band which supplied the music – pianist Austin Marks, bassist Vaughn Brathwaite, percussionist Louise Grasmere, Zeke Martin on drums, guitarist Gordon O’Connell and keyboardist Yusaku Yoshimura provided accompaniment which complemented the sea of sound coming from the voices center stage.

The program booklet contained “sing-along words” on two pages for audience participation, compositions like “Where Shall I be?,” “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “Life’s Railway to Heaven,” and “This Little Light of Mine” were featured.

Mystic Chorale provided an exhilarating night of entertainment, the concert about two and a half hours total, and truly a soul-stirring experience.

Fomer Medford City Council candidate Jeanne Martin was, coincidentally, about 5 rows away from this writer and came over to chat during a break. We both considered what a perfect show for Medford’s Chevalier Theater a concert like this could be.

For more on Mystic Chorale, check them out their Facebook Page.

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.