Kim Pacheco has been singing as long as she can remember. She brings her extensive knowledge and experience of gospel music to Nanaimo.

Kim Pacheco has been singing as long as she can remember. She brings her extensive knowledge and experience of gospel music to Nanaimo.

Feel the spirit

Kim Pacheco and Richard White Jr. teach the power of gospel

It doesn’t matter so much what you believe in, just as long as you have faith.

Gospel music is often associated with Christianity, but singer and teacher Kim Pacheco said the lyrics speak to teachings from all faiths, from Islam to Buddhism.

Pacheco, who identifies as Christian, chose songs for her Lantzville workshops, co-hosted with pianist Richard White Jr., that are supported by spiritual texts.

Lyrics like “trouble don’t last always” speak to themes found across religions and spiritual teachings and offer positive and hopeful feelings.

“They understand that it touches people in some place,” Pacheco said.

She and White are travelling from North Carolina to host the workshops in Lantzville June 28-July 1, with a concert featuring participants. The deadline to sign up for the workshops is Saturday (June 18).

“We want the people to just be excited that we’re coming, because we’re excited to be going there,” Pacheco said.

No experience is necessary – in fact, it’s encouraged.

Pacheco uses her four-and-a-half octave range to help teach the music through memorization and repetition. Fear, doubt and nervousness are ignored and singers are encouraged to clap and sway, which is just as much a part of gospel as the singing.

“We ignore anything that is negative in the room,” Pacheco said. “They’re singing it with joy in their hearts.”

Gospel music evolved from the worship songs of the American south, where music is still a huge part of weekly church services.

“We go to church two to six weeks after you’re born,” Pacheco said. “I learned music before I learned to read.”

She studied music, although she really didn’t need to, and discovered gospel roots in jazz and popular songs. Etta James’s hit Trust in Me spoke to her on a spiritual level and she continually listened and analyzed the song.

“The words made more sense,” she said. “That is so spiritually sound.”

She worked with the One Human Family and founder Eric Dozier, travelling all over the world to spread gospel music and unite the world through song and the universal language of music.

It’s as though she’s a rock thrown into a pool of water and the ripple will go as far as it will go, she said.

“I will go wherever the music will take me,” she said.

The music takes her to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch in Lantzville at 7227 Lantzville Rd. The workshop runs June 28-29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 30-July 1, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants perform for the public July 1, 7 p.m., at Nanaimo Ecumenical Centre, 6234 Spartan Rd.

Workshop cost is $250, while the concert is $10 to attend.

Pacheco and White will join Tamara Lee, the local vocal singer and coach bringing the pair to the city, in a concert June 30 for a concert at the Legion hall in Lantzville. Tickets $15; free for children under 12.

Tickets for both concerts are available at Fascinating Rhythm and Guava Apparel.

To register for the workshop, please visit www.tamaraleamusic.com, e-mail at info@tamaraleamusic.com or call 250-713-1812.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com