On Saturday, March 2nd, the day after a spectacular 100th Anniversary Celebration at the luxurious Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle, Macedonia continued the celebration by holding an unprecedented Gospel Concert at their church.
Greeting the large crowd prior to the start of the concert was their pastor, Rev. Darren M. Morton. After leading the audience in a prayer, he next introduced the Macedonia Reunion Choir, comprised of former and current members of the Macedonia Choir - especially assembled for the church's 100th Anniversary three-day celebration.
As soon as the choir commenced performing, the audience immediately knew they were about to witness something special. The singers immediately displayed a sense of power, spirit and versatility, as their harmonious sounds resonated throughout the vast church and inspired the audience.
As the choir performed one selection after the other, Rev. Morton, with the microphone in hand, did his share to motivate and inspire the audience by dancing, as if he was experiencing the Holy Spirit - and singing along.
The large audience, although enjoying the Macedonia Reunion Choir, were patiently awaiting the appearance of the legendary Vanessa Bell Armstrong.
Halfway through the choir's last selection, a women walked into the crowded church and walked towards the front - sitting next to Rev. Morton. The audience quickly sensed it was Vanessa Bell Armstrong, since the woman was changing her shoes and giving signs that yes, it was her.
As soon as the choir finished singing, Rev. Morton walked to the podium and announced that the women sitting next to him was in fact Vanessa Bell Armstrong - drawing a long applause from the Gospel savvy crowd.
As she was introduced by Rev. Morton, and was walking to the podium, the audience stood on their feet and gave her a standing ovation.
After she congratulated the church on its 100th Anniversary, she got into her singing mode. Her selection instantly excited and awed the crowd.
An early influence on Armstrong's style was the singing of the most famous performer ever to emerge from Detroit's gospel scene, Aretha Franklin, and when Armstrong emerged into her own career, many observers noted a vocal resemblance between the two singers. That resemblance was also noted at the Macedonia Gospel Concert.
At the conclusion of her performance, she was surrounded by a throng of admirers - some seeking her autograph.