By Delores Kimbrough Volunteer Co-Coordinator Music & Worship, Bon Air Baptist Church
The surprise appearances by Steve Bassett, Marie Goodman Hunter, and George Epps at the Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir Concert at Bon Air Baptist Church on July 15 continued to reveal the powerful impact that friendships and beautiful gospel music can have on the Richmond community.
This lovely evening of music and worship was part of the annual July Concert Series at Bon Air Baptist Church. The concert was attended by nearly 900 people from all over the greater Richmond area. Richmonders from multiple ethnic groups came together to celebrate and recognize Larry Bland on the very night that he also received a special tribute at the Annual Gospel Fest at Dogwood Dell.
A special friendship between Larry Bland and Reverend Paul Honaker, the associate pastor of music and worship at Bon Air Baptist church, was forged 20 years ago as they sought ways to collaborate using their amazing musical gifts to form connections between black and white Richmond communities.
The fruit of that beautiful friendship was seen at Bon Air Baptist Church as multiple groups cheered, clapped, and swayed to the unique presentation of gospel music provided by Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir. George Epps, a new local artist from First Baptist Church, was introduced and sang a beautiful rendition of the song, “Jesus I Love You”.
The icing on the cake of fellowship and celebration came with the surprise appearances of two celebrities: Steve Bassett and Marie Goodman Hunter. Steve Bassett wowed the crowd with “Lean On Me” and Marie Goodman Hunter melted their hearts with her powerful rendition of “Amazing Grace”!
Yes, “Amazing Grace” was indeed in operation at Bon Air Baptist Church as those attending watched the beauty of friendship, and the inspiration of gospel music as presented by Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir, bring multiple groups together to celebrate and to worship!