Sharon Church Hosts 17th 'Lift Every Voice' Concert

May 03, 2017 | Jann Stowe

About 300 members and individuals from the surrounding community enjoyed the 17th annual Lift Every Voice (LEV) concert, hosted by the Sharon Church in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, March 4. LEV’s mission is to strengthen relationships and increase awareness and understanding of the Sharon Church through fellowship and the celebration of various styles of African American music. This annual choir workshop begins the last week of February and culminates in a free concert the first Saturday in March.

J.W. Matthew Hennessee, Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church senior pastor and godson to the late Coretta Scott King, acted as the master of ceremony. Participants from the community, churches of various denominations, and gospel music groups throughout Oregon and Washington created the more-than-70-member choir. 

Linda Foxworth, Sharon Church director of music and co-creator of LEV, was one of five workshop and concert directors. With each new song the choir performed, the audience was uplifted higher and higher and brought to their feet with hands raised in prayer and praise.

Special music was provided by Jarrell Hosley and Perpetual Prayze, followed by the LEV choir singing an amazing medley directed by Michael Dean, Imago Dei Community Eastside campus director of worship and arts. During the medley, Dean’s 6-year-old daughter, Michaela (LEV’s youngest participant to date), sang a memorable solo.

Comments from choir participants included “I look forward to this event every year” and that the experience was “simply powerful.”