“WONDERFUUUL,” resonated the heavenly voice of recording artist Beau Williams while belting-out the first word of the lyrics in his signature tune, as he appeared through the theatrical effects of the fog, during the First Annual GOSPEL EXPLOSION, hosted by Commissioner Rose Tydus, sponsored by the City of Opa-locka Mayor and Commission, in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department on Saturday, August 13, 2011 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM in Sherbondy Park, 380 Bahman Avenue, Opa-locka, FL 33054.
With a resounding vocal power, from his first note, there was no doubt that it was the legendary Beau Williams, LIVE in concert, in the great City of Opa-locka. Williams struck a note that commanded attention from Sherbondy Park, through neighboring communities and into realms above the City and beyond. The elderly, the young, the church congregation members, families and passer-bys were captivated as the sweet noise of praise articulated through song which transcended the airwaves, penetrating the battlegrounds of spiritual warfare, while this inspirational man of God with such a polished, magnanimous stage presence (evidence from the years of performing), EXPLODED in sincerity, as he humbly presented his gift to the people of Opa-locka.
Beau Williams, smaller in stature than one would anticipate from the publicity photos, was more gigantic in his vocal deliverance than any compact disc or television appearance has ever conveyed. At the completion of his title song, a 22-year-old recent college graduate attending the concert with her mother and grandmother, commented, “That was ALL him… no ‘Milli-Vanilli’ recording here.” To which her grandmother quickly infused, “It’s not like that stuff y’all listen to… THIS is the real thing,” she said of one of Gospel music’s all time greatest. Proof that part of Commissioner Rose Tydus’ goal for this First Annual Gospel Explosion, had been accomplished! In luring families to the event, Tydus had hope to bridge musical gaps and create multi-generational dialogues, as well as an appreciation for new and old-school gospel music. She said, “Each performer will share some of the unique qualities and messages found in gospel, with those who are listening tonight.”
Williams, who grew-up in Houston, Texas as the son of a Baptist preacher and choir director, defined his participation as, “Doing (through his music, movies, and concert tours), what I have been called to do.” In addition to enjoying his music, Williams encouraged the audience to tune-in to one of the many Christian stations broadcasting his movie “Pain,” which is the story of two drug dealers, and the pain they encompass ‘seeking that Ghetto fame.’” He said, “Our Young people are so influenced by that lifestyle, and this (the movie) is a tool that God is using mightily to ‘win young people to Christ, because they won’t come to your church!” He noted that the movie is also currently showing on church and public school tours on Friday nights. It is also airing… “…on every Christian network in the country, including over 170 nations,” he revealed, adding that “Gang Bangers around the world are getting saved.”
In addition to being celebrated for his award winning Gospel Hits (in the top 10 for 58 consecutive weeks), as well as different genres of music, Beau Williams was known for defeating the 13 week champion Sam Harris in 1984, on the hit television show “Star Search” and Williams is also credited for being among the top 10 National Anthem singers in the U.S.
The attraction to the Gospel Explosion, for both the Seniors and the Youth, was further enhanced by the Gospel Explosion committee’s choice to comprise a diverse assembly of multi- generational artists which included the talents of a band of young, talented musicians and vocalist called “Sensere,” a Spiritual Praise Dance group, Holly Hip-Hop Rappers, Poetry, Worship, and an appearance by the Youth Choir of Stanton Memorial Baptist Church. There was a rare style of humor by local stand-up Christian comedian “Grandma” Althea “The Bag Lady” Tate, who lifted spectators off-guard and out-of-their-seats with her jokes on subjects from “older men” night-clubbing, laced-weaves/edges, self-bondage and stories about almost every item in her shopping cart, from the “Jesus Christ Stop & Save” store. In jest, Tate also sang about the “New Wave” churches, where young choir members wear khakis and “wife beater” shirts, while reaching-out to their peers through a “different” type of “message in the music.” “Jesus is my homey, “ she sang, “… kicking it with me all the time. Thank you ‘Lawdy,’ for never asking me for a sip of my forty” … at which the crowd EXPLODED in laughter.
During the concert, lightning and thunder made known its presence in surrounding municipalities. However, with the exception a few temporary light sprinkles that mostly just threatened the event for a short time, the night was clear. Commissioner Tydus acknowledged that after several days of rainy weather, she resorted to prayers. She praised, “I asked HIM (pointing one finger towards the sky) to hold back the rain for the night, so the concert would be a success, and he did!”
Many residents and visitors brought lawn chairs to the FREE event. Tydus stated that she is looking forward to the increase of participation over years to come.”
10 National Anthem singers in the U.S.