For Adairsville resident Ahmad Hall, performing at The Grand Theatre will be a dream fulfilled. On Jan. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m., his gospel group, Ahmad Hall & Friends, will take center stage at the early 1900s Cartersville venue.
“This is the first time that we will be performing at The Grand,” said Hall, pastor of worship ministries for North Rome Church of God. “I am very in touch and sensitive to the strides that African-Americans have made. I know of a time when my ancestors were not allowed to perform at this venue and had to sit in a designated area if they came to view a show here. But, they prayed that one day it would be different. So, most of all, I look forward to fulfilling the dream that many of my ancestors knew would come to pass. It is such an honor to be asked to come perform at such a beautiful venue.
“... I began playing piano at the age of 5 and started becoming serious about singing around the age of 12. ... After college, I was blessed to work with several Grammy award-winning gospel [artists] and learned a lot from them. But, I must say that the greatest honor of my musical career has been working with the ladies of Ahmad Hall & Friends or as we call them ‘And Friends.’ In 2016, we were nominated and won the Steeple Award for Best New Artist. Last fall, a Canadian production company contacted us to be a part of a documentary honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. The film is [titled] ‘I Am MLK’ and will air on the Paramount Network, which is formerly Spike TV, this spring.”
Formed in 2014, the group is led by Hall and also features vocalists Alegna Williams, Keonna Shaw, Erin Jones and Shakeela Hill.
“Our sound is unique in the sense that we really can’t be boxed into one category,” Hall said. “Yes, we are Christian/gospel singers, but when people hear us, they hear sounds from many genres of music, such as jazz, blues, spirituals, rock, etc. That’s the amazing thing about gospel music. It really encompasses every musical genre you can think of. More so than that, it tells a story and conveys a message. And, that message is the never-ending love of Jesus Christ.
“The single we are releasing isn’t the conventional type of thing to release as [a] single. But, we are releasing it, because it is very dear to us. It is one of the last recordings featuring original group member Joy Hill who transitioned from life to eternal life last May. Not only was she a group member, but she was my cousin and more like a sister. We all miss her very much and have chosen to honor her by releasing this particular piece of music, which is actually a reprise to a song that I wrote called ‘Walk Uprightly.’ The song was written from one of my favorite Scriptures, Psalms 84:11, that reads, ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.’ We will perform the song that night.”
Along with serving as the concert’s location, The Grand Theatre also will co-sponsor the Ahmad Hall & Friends performance.
“Two years ago, Ahmad [Hall] & Friends won the Steeple Award for Best New Artist,” said Terri Cox, program director for The Grand Theatre. “The Steeple Awards [identify] and [celebrate] ministry leaders and gospel music artists who have earned widespread acclaim as well as those whose contributions have previously gone largely unacknowledged. Ahmad Hall and his group held a celebratory event in The Grand Theatre after winning the award.
“This gave me the idea to work towards sponsoring an event in the theater so that the entire community could experience their music. We also wanted to reach out to the African-American community by bringing in a concert that would appeal to all races in a spirit of celebration and hope. ... We really want to reach across the lines of race, denomination, age and any other barriers that would separate our community. This will be an opportunity to have everyone come together in unity.”
Tickets for Ahmad Hall & Friends’ performance are $20 per person. Along with hearing the gospel vocalists’ music, patrons also will be able to purchase the group’s two singles: “Walk Uprightly,” which releases Jan. 26, and 2015’s “Run On.”
For more information or to obtain tickets for the upcoming concert, individuals need to visit http://thegrandtheatre.org, call 770-386-7343 or drop by The Grand Theatre Ticket Office, 7 N. Wall St., Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 5 p.m.