VaShawn Mitchell and other gospel artists gave their fans the gift of song in a free concert recently at Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast Washington.
Mitchell ministered to the audience with powerful songs such as "Turning Around for Me," the first single from his new CD, "Created 4 This," which debuted at No.3 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart.
His performance of "Lost" featured a cameo with Y'Anna Crawley, 2009 winner of the second season of BET's "Sunday Best" and Best New Artist of the 2012 Stellar Awards. Crawley's emotional testimony about the near-arrest of her teenage son moved the audience.
On one of Mitchell's most famous hits, "Nobody Greater," he sent the audience into worship. Considerate of the presence of God, Mitchell told audience members that he did not want to interrupt their worship after the benediction was complete.
The hosts of the event were Cheryl Jackson of Praise 104.1 FM and gospel superstar Maurette Brown-Clark, who made sure attendees were on their feet as each artist came to the stage. The lineup included Jarmel Evans and Worship Forever, Anthony Brown and Group Therapy, and Steven McCoy and Sacrifice.
"The concert was a completely humbling experience in the presence of God!" said gospel artist Brittney Wright, 29. "So needed for this time."
After the concert ended, Mitchell invited Wright to the stage. Wright blessed the audience with her musical riffs, runs and gospel scrawls, but most importantly her anointing.
Also in attendance was Clifton Ross III, 27, a "Sunday Best" finalist and Howard University alumnus, who is featured on "Created 4 This," along with Fantasia and Diane Barrino.
"I felt very proud because we all went through this process together with him," Ross said. "So to see its success is breathtaking."
Ross also sang with Mitchell at the concert, showcasing his vocal musicality and his amazing range. "It is always an honor to sing with VaShawn," said Ross, who performed on the live recording of the CD with Mitchell and participated on the promotional tour.
Mitchell's concert at Union Temple was part of his "Created 4 This" tour, sponsored by Denny's. The Grammy-nominated artist and six-time Stellar Award winner invited the audience to join him at the Benning Road restaurant in Northeast Washington following the concert.
His upcoming appearances include:
• Verizon's "How Sweet the Sound" on Sept. 15 in Detroit and Sept. 21 in Los Angeles
• Circle of Sisters, sponsored by WBLS-FM in New York, on Oct. 7.
Alex R. Hill writes about spirituality and music for 101Magazine.net, a national magazine based at Howard University.