On the heels of being invited guests of First Lady Michelle Obama for the first inaugural concert dedicated to military families and the children of Sandy Hook to address violence, Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago choir are not slowing down.
“Go where you’re celebrated and not tolerated,” is Whitman’s mantra.
They were indeed celebrated on several occasions in the nation’s capital. On January 19 the choir shared the stage with R&B singer Usher, pop stars Katie Perry, Mindless Matter and the cast of Glee. The Soul Children’s performance was in collaboration with Black Violin for Whitman’s arrangement of “Come Together” by the Beatles.
“We had classical hip hop, rock and gospel combined on one show. We did a new song that Darren Criss wrote called “You Are Not Alone,” said Whitman. “We were the only gospel group on the presidential playlist. I couldn’t believe our song, “Higher Higher,” was played on Pennsylvania Avenue during the (inaugural) parade.”
Former members of the Soul Children work at the White House for the Obamas. Johnny Wright is a hair stylist to the first lady and Lavenia Lavelle serves as a makeup artist.
Recently, the Harris Theater in Chicago’s Millennium Park selected the choir for its Family Series concerts. The productions are designed to familiarize kids with the arts. The Soul Children performed as part of the Black History Month celebration.
“We were the first gospel group to sell out the theater,” said Whitman.
On April 7 the group will return to Harris Theater for the Ronald McDonald House Fundraiser.
“(This week) I leave for Barcelona, Spain to train a choir called the Cor Carlit Gospel, which is the oldest gospel choir there. I’ve been mentoring them and training them for the past three years and conducting a seven-day workshop,” said Whitma.
In June the Soul Children will host auditions. For more information visit www.soulchildrenchicago.org
“Remember you are Blessed by the Best!”
Effie Rolfe is an author, media personality and motivational speaker. Contact her at email@example.com or on twitter: @effiedrolfe