Upham's Corner Online

Love Tones add Grace Notes to the Christmas Season


For over 50 years, the men who now comprise the "Love Tones" have been singing and churching, traveling and crossing paths.  Their music has always been from their heart and soul with an initial focus on R&B, then gospel.  Through their devotion to their worship life, they have evolved into a men's quartet - the Love Tones - that not only sings but ministers to their audiences through their music and their words of healing and encouragement.  Love Tones

Pilgrim Trinity Congregational Church was blessed on Sunday, December 23, 2012 with a visit from the Love Tones.  They added a distinctly graceful note to the Christmas season with an hour long concert of traditional gospel and spiritual music.

Rev. John Odams has the opportunity, he said, to see the Love Tones perform at least once a year. He likes how they are relaxed and easy going when they come to the Pilgrim Church (last was about eight years ago).  And this contrasts with other settings which demand a more polished performance.

Rev. John was please with the turnout - close to 50 people, many from the community who were not members of the church.  Their concert was a continuing celebration of the church's 150th anniversary celebration.

While the Pilgrim Church belongs to the United Church of Christ,  members and their many friends at the concert come from a Baptist background so the Love Tones were "singing to the choir."

And, of course, the singers encouraged clapping, tambourine, anything to get the spirit moving.

http://www.lovetones.net

Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12


Members of the LoveTones

  • Stephen Cooper sings – lead, tenor and baritone – and his favorite gospel group is the Canton Spirituals
  • Walter Cooper sings – lead and baritone  – his favorite gospel group is the Wynans
  • Richard Evans sings – lead, baritone and bass – his favorite group is the Golden Gate Singers
  • William Lessenberry sings – lead and tenor – and his favorite gospel group is the Williams Brothers.

They have produced two CD's:  Jubilee (JB) and Standing on the Rock (SR).


The Concert of Grace Notes

The mello Love Tones quartet opened with two well-known favorites:  "Old Ship of Zion" and "We've come this far by Faith" both of which are on their Standing on the Rock CD.

Steal Away to Jesus was introduced with a few comments on the importance of spirituals to the early American black folk, most of whom were slaves.  Spirituals were sung by American slaves and served as a way to communicate.  Yes, they had a theological meaning but they also had a hidden meaning to let people know how to access the underground railroad. 

Spanning both of their immortal worlds, the spirituals reflected their belief that a better time is coming. 

Words & Music: Af­ri­can-Amer­i­can spir­it­u­al: Steal Away to Jesus  (JB)

Refrain

Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus!
Steal away, steal away home,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

My Lord, He calls me,
He calls me by the thunder;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

Refrain

Green trees are bending,
Poor sinners stand a-trembling;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

Refrain

My Lord, He calls me,
He calls me by the lightning;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.


A Little Ministry Thrown In

Being good to their word, the hour was filled with music and a little ministry thrown in. 

We know we will always have trouble but God said:  "I will be with you through it all.  I will be the God that will hold you, that will comfort you that will give you what you need in that circumstance to help overcome.  We walk by faith not by sight.  It doesn't make sense how things look.   What counts for reality is what God says.  Don't worry.  Be of good cheer.  We have a great God.  He is worthy to be praised."

Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12

Heaven Is Looking Down On Me

Verse #1

Heaven is looking down on me
Heaven is looking down on me
When my friends do me wrong
I shake it off, and go on
Heaven is looking down on me

Verse #2

Heaven is looking down on me
Heaven is looking down on me
When I lay awake and can't sleep
I see an Angel at my feet
Heaven is looking down on me

Verse #3

Heaven is looking down on me
Heaven is looking down on me
When I'm lonely and confused
I know the Lord will see me though
Heaven is looking down on me


The Love Tones sang Born again (SR)  and followed that with everyone joining in singing Christmas carols: Joy to the World, Hark the Herald and Go tell it on the Mountain. 
Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12


More Music to close out the concert:


All in his hands (SR)
Hold on (JB )
Working on the Building
Down by the Riverside
Break bread together
Walk with me (JB)
Father, hold my hand while I run this race.
Too close to heaven
I don't care what the world may do.

Their rendition of the African-American spiritual, Let us Break Bread Together, alone was worth the concert.  Creatively arranged, it gave new life to an oft-sung standard that has significant meaning but is oversung, always in the same "old" way.

Photos

Love Tones album of photos on the Pilgrim Church Facebook page.


Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12



Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12

Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12



Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12

Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12



Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12

Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12 Love Tones at Pilgrim Church 12/23/12
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Posted: December 23, 2012     Nancy J Conrad


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