Artists in Action: Local gospel band offers sacred music in jazz style
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Sep 16, 2012 | 1812 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you’ve not been to see Thomas Van Dyke and his band “Forever Called” perform, next Sunday evening is the time to go.

The band, comprised of eight professional musicians, some of whom are ministers of music from the area, will offer a Christian gospel concert at 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at Church On The Rock, Alabama Highway 202 at Embry Street.

Hear some new original songs written by Van Dyke, who is also a minister and booking agent for professional musical groups. Other songs on the program are the band’s remakes of recordings by Earth Wind & Fire and other nationally known artists.

The songwriter describes his music as a mixture of R&B and jazz with a feel of gospel and soul, plus a light flavoring of rock.

“A message with a good beat behind it carries a special appeal,” Van Dyke said. “I hope people will make these songs their own.”

Everyone is invited. Van Dyke will preach at the service. The meet-and-greet will provide a chance to get to know the artist and the six new members of his band.

Bringing history to life

Many people were disappointed when the town lost the Anniston Land Company building, but there’s new focus on holding on to our heritage.

The Model City will be 130 years old in 2013, and a plan is underway to celebrate its birthday.

Opened to the public in 1883, Anniston had many important landmarks and can still claim structures that deserve celebration. The Anniston Museum of Natural History’s staff, with the help of guest consultant Julian Jenkins, is coordinating a major museum exhibit based on the early entrepreneurial architecture that helped sell the private town to investors and developers.

The exhibit will coincide with National Preservation Month in May of next year.

Viewers will better understand the city’s founders’ concept in 1872 of the town’s future, from the time of its incorporation in 1883 through its early years of growth.

The hope, according to Cheryl Bragg, museum complex director, is that other groups and organizations will plan activities for an observance, and that the exhibit will encourage historic preservation.

The presentation will also provide the viewer (as an imagined visitor to Anniston in the late 1800s) with the sights, sounds and glimpses of the early community after stepping off the train at the old Union Station at 13th Street and Moore Avenue.

Information on how founders designed their “model” for what they wanted Anniston to become and how they implemented a plan to make it happen will be a part of the exhibit.

The purposes that were in place to build this “New South” city in the late 1800s still relate to today’s Anniston, Jenkins said.

“They may actually be a re-discovered vision and focus for the 2013 Anniston and years in the coming century,” he said.

Hervey Folsom is a longtime supporter of the arts in Calhoun County and has been writing for The Star since 1971. She can be contacted at
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