In a national television performance on May 10th, Grammy-winning producer, composer and recording artist Donald Lawrence was surrounded by some of the biggest names in today’s gospel music. He performed his group’s, “Donald Lawrence & Co.’s” hit single, “Back II Eden,” on stage at BET’s “Sunday’s Best” finale, while thousands cheered in the audience and millions watched by television.
Lawrence will bring the same high profile presence to the Closing Concert and Communion of the 2009 General Assembly where he will perform on Sunday, Aug. 2. The concert and communion will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center.
A former student at the Cincinnati Conservatory, where he earned a bachelor’s in fine arts, Lawrence and his former group, “The Tri-City Singers,” helped transform not only the sound but the literal definition of the modern gospel choir. A native of Charlotte, N.C., he was reared by an aunt who made sure he attended church, where he sang in the choir. A self taught pianist and organist, he began writing songs at the age of 16.
“Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers” became one of the most popular gospel choirs of the 1990s and made their mark in the secular media as well. By the end of 1993, Lawrence and the choir had become one of Billboard’s Top Ten Gospel Groups. Other successful albums followed.
With Lawrence in the lead, the music of the Tri-City filled the air at numerous church and community functions while their recordings shot up music charts.
Billboard called Lawrence a “timeless tunesmith, lyricist and master of the mix.” Intending to pursue a career in musical theater, Lawrence changed plans when singer and actress Stephanie Mills hired him to be her musical director. By the mid-90s, he had spent almost 10 years working and touring with Mills, and had produced two of her albums. He had also established himself as one of gospel music’s most esteemed producers. He has also worked with gospel and pop superstar Kirk Franklin, hit-maker Peabo Bryson, and gospel icons Daryl Coley, and the late Thomas Whitfield.
Disciples will worship with Lawrence, folk singer Carrie Newcomer, the Indianapolis Children Choir and Disciples children at the Assembly’s Closing Concert and Communion Service. The Indianapolis community has been invited to attend and welcomed to share at the table during this service. To learn more about Lawrence, go to: http://sn.im/hyg5a
By: James Patterson