Carolyn Edwards Marcelle
Carolyn Edwards Marcelle
If any popular event was built to last an unbroken 25 years, it’s the Roger Davis Acapella Quartet Festival. This festival has successfully upheld the tradition of high quality acapella quartet music. The “Quartet Fest” as everyone calls it, is held annually on the last Sabbath afternoon in February at the New Hope Church in Ellenwood, Georgia. The festival, named after the late Roger Davis, founder/organizer of the festival and long-time minister of music and organist for the church, features renditions of acapella Negro spirituals from groups all over the South Atlantic Conference and the southeast.
Negro spirituals were initially an oral tradition that conveyed Christian values while also recounting the sufferings of slavery. Although recently a change occurred where one was more likely to hear spirituals sung by college choirs like the Oakwood University Aeolians, the quartet fest brought many back to the days of male voices coming together to blend in perfect harmony, telling the world of the “Good News” Gospel in their own unique way. While praise and worship music has become very popular in modern churches, those who enjoy acapella quartet music in the Metro Atlanta area know they can look forward to the quartet fest every year.
Attendees enjoyed smooth melodies and complex harmonies as the soaring falsettos of the tenors and low tones of the basses blended with the medium timbre of the baritones to form acapella masterpieces. The group Chanje (pronounced Change), which has performed at almost every quartet fest, dazzled spectators with their last performance as they masterfully sang the gospel standards “Safety Zone,” and a medley of “Come Along, Two Wings,” and “Building A Home.” Many Metro Atlanta churches were represented by groups that included Men In Christ, Rising Generation, 4 A Glimpse, Testimony, Praize N Harmony, 4 Given, Men For Christ, N’Namdi Bryant, Faith Men’s Chorale, Bethesda Male Group, Fayette Men’s Chorale, and 4–The King.
At the end of the program, all the participants joined together in the quartet fest tradition to sing an impromptu rendering of “If We Ever Needed The Lord Before, We Sure Do Need Him Now.” When one considers the state of the world during the pandemic, there couldn’t be a more appropriate song. If you’re in the Metro Atlanta area February 2021, mark your calendar for the last Sabbath, and make it your mission to attend the quartet fest. I promise that your soul will be lifted, and God’s name will be praised!
South Atlantic | May 2020