‘It’s sort of a homecoming for me’: OPRF grad returns for gospel collaboration at Oak Park church
An Oak Park church will become the venue for a gospel music concert that aims to provide moving, spiritual depth.
The program, dubbed “Night of Collaboration,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pilgrim Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Oak Park, featuring the works of 2006 Oak Park and River Forest High School alumnus Andrew Barnes Jamieson and his creative partner Darnell Ishmel from Flint, Mich.
Concert organizers are requesting a $12 donation at the door.
Andrew’s father, Stuart Barnes Jamieson, said the concert offers a unique opportunity for the congregation and the general public.
“We are in the midst of exploring how we can be more of a multicultural congregation,” he said. “One of the places for this plays out is in the music. Pilgrim has been exploring the role of gospel music, especially in a congregation as diverse like it is. We’re wanting to be more open and inclusive to different forms and styles of worship.”
Andrew Barnes Jamieson, who lives in Oakland, Calif., will return to the church his parents belong to as members, giving spectators the opportunity to witness several arrangements.
“It’s sort of a homecoming for me,” he said. “It’s a church I grew up attending.”
His father agreed, adding, “to have one of your own, if you will, in Andrew come [back to perform,] is, I think, really exciting,” he said.
Ishmel and Andrew Barnes Jamieson first collaborated in a performance late last year. Shortly after that, the two artists began talks of hosting a gospel concert in Oak Park.
Ishmel said it is an honor to be invited to perform with Andrew Barnes Jamieson.
“I’ve collaborated with Andrew several times,” he said. “He’s an uncommon species as it regards to collaborating. That can’t go understated. It becomes a very unique opportunity for me, and I hope to be able to bring that sense of uniqueness to the concert experience.”
Stuart Barnes Jamieson said the gospel concert will offer a nice example of how “different cultures can collaborate respectfully.”
“They understand each other very well,” he said of the artists’ synergy.
The program will also include a performance by the chancel choir of the church.
“Those that know and love Andrew already will get a sense of where he’s at,” Stuart Barnes Jamieson said. “For the Pilgrim community, I think they will see an expression of this kind of music and worship that will inform them and enlighten them.”