by Cesca Janece Waterfield
The congregation of Moore Street Missionary Baptist Church is looking to the future.
The historic church at 1408 W. Leigh St. is raising money for their scholarship program and expanding, by building a Life Center at the intersection of Jackson Ward and Carver. As if to call attention to the importance of this dual goal, The Hawkins Family, one of gospel’s most well-regarded groups, will reunite for one night to help with fundraising efforts this Saturday, March 14.
The show will bring together siblings Walter, Lynette and Edwin Hawkins, as well as “Lady Tramaine,” who was married for several years to Walter. Tramaine, who briefly worked toward a mainstream career in the mid-‘80s, sang at Rosa Park’s funeral in 2005.
Established in 1975 as the Edwin Hawkins Singers and led by Walter, the group enjoyed unprecedented success due in part to the individual talents of each member. They’ve won Dove Awards and been nominated for Grammys. Yet they haven’t performed together in one venue on the East Coast together in years.
Shalimar Hickman-Jones of Moore Street’s Music Ministry says, “This is monumental for the Richmond region and the many gospel music lovers in the area. This is to gospel music what a Jackson Family reunion would be to R&B.”
The momentous performance is fitting for a church notable in Richmond history. Organized in 1875, Moore Street Missionary Baptist moved to its current location in 1908 and constructed a Social Center in 1950. The church has witnessed vast changes in the neighborhood over the years, as well as recent revitalization. Today’s Pastor is Dr. Alonza L. Lawrence. Carver Community Garden is across the street, and Carver Area Civic Improvement League (CACIL) meets every last Tuesday of the month there. Hickman-Jones says, “We not only serve Carver but the Richmond community at large.”
Refresh Your Soul: Hawkins Family Reunion, Saturday, March 14, 7 pm at the Landmark Theater, 6 N. Laurel St. Tickets $15 – $50. Get info at 545-2878 or visit www.ticketmaster.com