"When I look at how God's been good to me, all I can say is hallelujah!"
These are the graceful words of Troy Sneed, founder and director of the
Grammy-nominated choir, Youth For Christ, and in my opinion, the words of
Mr Sneed come very close to summing up the youthful energy and amazing love
of God that flow from YFC's recently released sophomore album, "Love Comes
In All Colors." Sneed leads the fourth track of the album called "I Give
You Praise," a song, written by Sneed, possessing an elegant simplicity
which, while it wonderfully embodies the great joy that comes from knowing
Christ, also reveals the humility and awe that God inspires in us all. "I
give You praise, glorify Your name. Hallelu'! Lord I give You praise." Not
much to argue with there.
But then, Sneed, a talented performer in his own
right, calls on the choir to join him in praise. 300 plus voices enter in
full harmony, echoing the words of Sneed. But these bright voices, though
they clearly belong to young performers, somehow also manage to emulate
Sneed's mature passion and sincere emotion. This is the great achievement
of Youth For Christ. Behind the resonating harmonies and exact phrasing,
each bespeaking a professionalism beyond the years of the choir's youthful
members, one both hears and feels the great love of God that is the
foundation of it all. In fact, the only thing out of synch, though
justifiably so, is the sound of Sneed yelling, "Come on, come on," inviting
the audience to join them in praise as the organ plays in the background.
And I have to say, if your hands aren't raised by then, Sneed's appeals
finish the job.
"Love Comes In All Colors," YFC's second live album, a project which
follows their GRAMMY-nominated debut album "Higher," features such
vocalists as Sony Records artist Kim Burrell and gospel legend Rev. Milton
Biggham as well as 17-year-old Ashley Boston whose future in the kingdom of
God looks quite promising. All the elements of the album-- including the
infectious energy emanating from the performance's live audience, over
4,000 attendees at Bethel Baptist Institutional Church in Jacksonville,
Florida--all the elements come together to produce a pleasingly unified
sound. From more upbeat tracks like "Jesus Is The Light" with it's
refreshingly funky groove and layered voice parts to the more laid back but
equally as inspiring "Yes Lord," with it's smooth vocals and relaxing lead
guitar, these young singers display a versatility and range that is indeed
praiseworthy. Perhaps most impressive, though, is the ability of this group
of young people to not only successfully carry but also enliven the
traditional gospel sound on tracks such as "Let Jesus Lead You" and "Shine
On Me (Church)." They are able to sing with a love for the Lord that both
uplifts and restores some of our own youth in Christ.
The title of the album is inspired by its second track entitled "Colors," a
song lead by the amazing vocal stylings of Kim Burrell and brought home by
YFC. The song reminds us of the precious gifts we all possess in the eyes
of God and that truly, the love of God is given equally to all,
irrespective of race. The lighthearted innocence of YFC and the strength
with which this message is relayed can be felt throughout the entire album.
"Love Comes In All Colors," from its funky bass and horn sections to the
beautiful voices of YFC's inspiring young performers, was truly a blessing
to me and I pray it is a greater blessing to all of you. Grace and Peace.