Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Shirley Caesar Rocks Hall of Fame

Nashville, TN - It has long been noted that Rock and Roll has its roots in Gospel music, so it was only fitting that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame kicked off their 2009 Induction Week by honoring Pastor Shirley Caesar with the first annual “Rock My Soul” concert. The award was presented to Shirley Caesar Sunday March 29th in recognition of her contributions as “an artist who uplifts and enlightens many, using her gift of music and ministry.”

The sold-out "Rock My Soul" show at Cleveland Ohio’s Playhouse Square's Allen Theatre included performances by artists J. Moss and Richard Smallwood & Vision as well as tributes from city officials and artists who had gathered to celebrate Pastor Caesar and her over 40 year ministry. As the headliner, Shirley Caesar completed the evening of celebration with the kind of powerful gospel performance that has made her an icon.

Mayor Frank G.Jackson delivered a proclamation highlighting her contributions to gospel music and its affect on the rock and roll movement. The program progressed with tributes by local aggregations; “The Word” Church and the Antioch Baptist Church choir featuring Helen Turner-Thompson, along with other local performers Tyniece J. and Company, and Stormy Cleveland.

With more the than 2,100 attendees on their feet for most of the evening, those less familiar with gospel music were drawn in by the praise and worship experience. When they thought it couldn’t get any better gospel music mainstay Richard Smallwood took the stage and sang “Lord, you are the source of my strength.” J. Moss then followed with an acappella rendition of Caesar’s “No Charge”. The soul-stirring song, originally recorded in 1983 by Caesar, continues to garner an up roaring of praise.

As Caesar was preparing to take the stage, greeted with a standing ovation, she exclaimed: “This is the day the Lord has made and I am going to rejoice.” Along with her coveted Caesar Singers she used the stage as a canvas to paint a praise-filled picture; dancing and singing many of her hit songs from the past 40 years.

The “Rock My Soul” tribute is a celebration of the roots of rock and roll music. “While this is the first year for this event, it is our hope that it will be an annual, community-wide celebration honoring rock and roll music’s gospel roots and incredible legacy of Cleveland churches,” shares Terry Stewart, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Photos Credits: Scott Shaw (The Plain Dealer) and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum

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