The unique sound and ‘”swag” of New Life Tabernacle’s choir brings people, especially young adults, inside the church doors.
With a bishop who is also a recording artist, there’s no arguing that music is one of the foundations of the church’s ministry at 1476 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Bishop Eric Figueroa, his wife Doreen, and their daughter Anaysha have all recorded gospel music albums.
“My first time seeing New Life was at a concert, they were singing and I was just really blown away by the choir and their performance,” said Devon Brown, who is now the assistant director of the youth choir. “So, I came one Sunday morning, and it was amazing. I just felt like they’re not just a show but that this is how they act 24/7.”
Brown says that he discovered a music performance style that was unlike any others that he had experienced. “It wasn’t the ordinary church sound that you hear. They had a swag to their sound, a swagger hip hop to their sound.”
Associate Pastor Dr. Angela Moses sees the music ministry as a powerful tool to educate the younger members of their congregation about team work and discipline. According to Dr. Moses, most of the children raised in the New Life Tabernacle community end up going to college.
“If one person is off, the whole choir is off. It’s one voice, one sound. There’s so much to learn through music,” Dr. Moses said. “I use it as a vehicle to teach young people of how to make it in life.”
Bogdan Mohora is contributor to A Journey through NYC religions, a senior photo editor at MSN.com and studies at Columbia Universities Graduate School of Journalsm. Before coming to New York City, he worked as a freelance media editor in Seattle, WA for various clients such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Amazon and Microsoft and was a photographer and writer for online music magazine Melophobe.