SIOUX CITY | Even the best choirs need an occasional shot of adrenaline.
That was the thought going through the mind of Sandra Pearson, head director of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church Consecrated Mass Choir a few days prior to the annual All Choir Day.
"When the Rev. Floyd E. Brown retired from Mount Zion in 2015, the church went through a long grieving process," she said. "This year, we have a new pastor in the Rev. J.F. Robertson, a new attitude and a new energy."
That new energy will be on display at 4 p.m. Sunday when the 1421 Geneva St. church hosts some of the best musicians, songwriters and choir directors from across the country.
"Our All Choir Day concert is Mount Zion's biggest event of the year," Barbara Lauderdale, the choir president, explained. "This is the time in which we invite the entire community to a spiritually fulfilling service of song, inspiration and praise."
"If you've never been to Mount Zion before, be prepared to stay on your feet," Pearson added. "This isn't the type of service where people sit quietly in pews. When our choir ministers the word, it will get you moving."
That will certainly be the case this year. In preparation for its All Choir Day concert, Mount Zion has enlisted the help of Vincent E. Gray, a choir director and songwriter who is best known for his work with the Chicago Mass Choir.
"Vincent will be offering a two-day workshop for our choir," Lauderdale said. "He will be providing the instruction, discipline and unity that we've been lacking for the past few years."
A teacher in the Chicago Public School District, Gray seems to have the right kind of credentials for the job.
"Every choir becomes creatively constipated at some point," he said. "I'd like to think of myself as being an educational laxative."
Indeed, Gray said "life without education is like voluntary slavery."
He educates people with a few simple rules.
"The number one step is being willing to uncork the geyser of God's grace," Gray said. "What's step number two? That's easy. Always remember step number one."
Pearson said she's looking forward to Gray's musical tutorial. It is also giving her hope for Mount Zion's future.
"There's a new energy and it hits you as soon you walk through the door," she said. "As a member of Mount Zion for the past 38 years, that's a very encouraging sign."