Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
For those who wonder what happened to the Edwin Hawkins Singer after their smash hit "Oh Happy Day" almost a decade ago, part of the answer lay on a rousing concert Tuesday night at the Warner Theatre.
Now it's Edwin and Walter Hawkins and the Hawkins Love Center Group, featuring the two brothers, three sisters, a cousin and a sister-in-law. The family ensemble, seven singers (Edwin Hawkins plays piano and sings), a drummer and organist, is easily one of the outstanding contemporary gospel groups.
They concentrate on blending traditional gospel concepts with today's music trends - and the result is marvelous.
The group has such a dazzling array of soloists that it's hard to single out anyone. If there was a crowd favorite, it was Tremaine Hawkins, Walter's wife, whos magnificent soprano soared on "Going Up Yonder" and dipped and moaned to the balladic "Christ is the Way".
Not to be outdone, however, were Shirley Miller and Lynette Hawkins, both contraltos with significantly different approaches. Lynette Hawkins delivered her songs in a robust manner reminiscent of a locomotive speeding through the night. Shirley Miler was just as powerful but more restrained, moving like a cruising limousine.
The Hawkins singers were notably backed up on several selections by the D.C. Youth Chorale, a 100-person group of students from District high schools, which performed superbly in its own program slot. Also appearing were the Dynamics, a vocal quartet with piano accompaniment, who demonstrated that the traditional gospel approach of close harmony and sweet melody stills works