For three decades, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has been synonymous with soaring harmonies, thunderous choruses of praise, and anointed testimonies that have not only earned international exposure, acceptance, and acclaim, but have touched the very core of humanity’s existence. With a constantly rotating sea of nearly 300 voices, this Choir has been the home to a rainbow of believers from all previous backgrounds, social classes, and racial ties, thus making the group’s connection with audiences of any creed so incredibly magnetic and authentic.
Following the Choir’s glorious Christmas effort Light of the World and most recent studio endeavor Be Glad (which earned the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir its fifth Grammy Award) comes the brand new Live: This is Your House release, featuring a variety packed set list of praise standards, contemporary favorites, and gripping spoken word messages. Bowing November 11th on INO Records, it’s a project that’s not only greeted with enormous anticipation all across the globe, but one that has perhaps been the most personal to date for the 8,000 member Brooklyn Tabernacle home church from which it was birthed.
“Living in 2003 can be difficult with how jumbled the world is becoming, especially when you’re from the inner city where there’s a lot of single parents, predominately poor households, and lots of hand to mouth living,” says Brooklyn Tabernacle Church Pastor Jim Cymbala, noting that the project’s royalties will go directly to the church’s Learning Center assisting underprivileged children and other vulnerable people. “That’s why it’s so important these songs have the integrity to carry people through such difficult times and be used as an encouragement when there are so many burdens weighing on their hearts.”
As listeners are greeted with the empowering cries of “I Made It” and the definitive proclamation of faith “Lord I Believe in You,” they’re immediately transported from the world’s many trials and distractions and swept into the almighty presence of God. Thanks in part to the group’s captivating presence and the tight knit direction of Carol Cymbala, additional attention is commanded from the hand wavers “Jesus I Love You” and “This is Your House,” while the celebratory chants of “Saved” and “Holy Are You Lord” can genuinely be regarded as peace perpetuating glimpses into heaven.
“When Carol chooses the selections the choir will sing in a service, it’s not based around what’s the most popular or best selling, but rather what meets the spiritual needs of the people,” explains Pastor Jim. “The same can be said on our recordings where we still include songs that have made the most significant impact on our people.”
Additional soul stirring cuts on Live: This is Your House include the worshipful trio “Because of Who You Are,” “I’m Going With Jesus,” and “You Are Holy,” building listeners up with enough strength and confidence to boldly lift their voices. Besides perpetuating personal faith commitments, a call for interracial and cultural harmony amongst believers and non-believers alike is presented throughout “We Are One,” paving the way for the potent finale “Days of Elijah,” which just like the Choir’s noteworthy performances at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden has the potential to bring down the house.
“Out of any record the church has ever been a part of, this is by far the one we’re most excited about,” shares Pastor Cymbala. “It meets so many different needs of listeners and has such a contagious energy about it that truly replicates what you’d experience at a Sunday service at our church.
To help ensure that true to form experience, Live: This is Your House also incorporates a series of spoken word dialogues and touching testimonies in between various songs, which not only enhance such messages, but also presents the Gospel with reality based relevance. One such moment is a period of vulnerable sharing by the congregation’s very own Danny Valasco, who divulges his struggles with a gripping drug addiction, along with his miraculous redemption from such a path of sin. Then there’s the brief talk offered by Suzan Greaves, who tells the horrifying tale of her niece’s abduction but also her full reliance on God’s protection and provision for a safe return.
“We’re able to hear from someone like Danny the incredible power of God’s grace and God’s ability to forgive in even the most desperate circumstances and Suzan reminds us of the power of prayer and how God truly answers when we call upon Him,” observes Pastor Cymbala. “From the people I’ve shared this project with in the early stages, I’d say we’ve succeeded at the balance between singing and speaking, being careful to keep the stories at the proper and most effective length.”
Towards the end of Live: This is Your House, Pastor Cymbala himself steps up to the microphone to deliver an official invitation to Christ. “When it comes down to it, that’s why we want this record to get into the hands of as many people as possible,” concludes Pastor Cymbala. “As long as people have the opportunity to hear this, I’m certain it will leave an indelible impression, and God will take care of the rest.”