Gospel music celebrates life

Teachers from American south lead Nanaimo workshops

Richard White Jr. and Kim Pacheco return to Nanaimo to lead a singing workshop in gospel music.

Richard White Jr. and Kim Pacheco return to Nanaimo to lead a singing workshop in gospel music.

Two musicians who grew up with gospel music in North and South Carolina lead a workshop in the faith music in Nanaimo.

It’s the second time Kim Pacheco and Richard White Jr.  led gospel workshops in Nanaimo, hosted by local singer and music teacher Tamara Lea.

“I love the feeling you get when you sing gospel,” Lea said. “Its history is rooted in triumph and victory and I wanted to share how this music celebrates life.”

Although gospel is typically associated with Christianity, its messages are found across all religions and simply belief in a higher power is all that’s needed to participate.

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

“While gospel comes from Christian roots, these workshops and concerts are about the music, its history and meaning, and how to sing it, rather than proselytizing,” Lea said.

The duo  grew up with the tradition of gospel music from the earliest years of their lives.

In true gospel tradition, there is no written music and no need for previous singing experience, as all music is taught without sheet music regardless of musical experience.

Through repetition, Pacheco and her four-octave range, teaches every part from soprano to bass.

Accompanying on piano, White’s passion, knowledge, fluidity and strong classical background bring the sounds together in a way that fills the room and makes it easy for participants to come on board.

The Southern Gospel Experience Workshop is held at the Royal Canadian Legion in Lantzville Feb. 9-12.

Early-bird registration is $199 for adults until Saturday (Jan. 21) and $225 after. For school-age students, cost is $99. Registration closes Feb. 1.

After the workshop, participants perform for the public as the Southern Gospel Explosion Choir Feb. 12, 7 p.m., at the Nanaimo Ecumenical Centre, 6234 Spartan Rd. (across from Superstore).

Tickets are $10; children 12 and under are free and available at Guava Apparel in Woodgrove Centre.

To register for the workshop, please visit www.tamaraleamusic.com, or call 250-713-1812.