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‘God’s Trombones’ to feature old-time African-American preaching and music

Above are the first graduates of The Promise Academy (Class of 2013) along with academy founder and Middlesex native Laymetha Reed Guy (3rd from left), adult assistants Deacon Bertina Wilson (far left), Bessie Rich (2nd from left), Direthia Thornton (far right) and Joyce Lee (2nd from right), and Stellar Award nominated gospel teen singer Nyasia (7th from left). Reed Guy will produce this Saturday’s performance of “God’s Trombones” and also sing with “The Sounds of Rapture” during the production. Nyasia will sing during the play and at intermission. Admission is $15 and tickets will be sold at the door.

by Tom Hardin

Ready for some good old-time African-American revival preaching and music similar to what was popular in the 1920s? If so, St. Clare Walker Middle School on Route 33 at Locust Hill is the place you want to be on Saturday, May 10.

The Promise Academy, in association with Shiloh Baptist Church and James Pettis Productions, will present the renowned Off-Broadway play “God’s Trombones” in the school auditorium. There will be two shows—at 1 and 4 p.m. 

“God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse” is a 1927 book of poems by James Weldon Johnson patterned after traditional African-American religious oratory. The book is comprised of seven poems, which are presented onstage as seven sermons.

In Saturday’s production, during each sermon local actors will be on stage to pantomime and add emphasis to the focus of the sermon. When each sermon ends, Laymetha Reed Guy and “The Sounds of Rapture” will perform an old spiritual song that adds even more emphasis to the sermon’s message.

“This show is about the voices of old-time preachers that author James Weldon Johnson heard in his youth,” said show director James Pettis. “The sound reminded him of the sound of trombones.

“The preachers in the show will assume the old-time roles and voices of these revival preachers and get the audience involved emotionally,” said Pettis. “The music and actors will add even more emotion to the production.”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 05.07.2014

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