Gospel music has been performed in a variety of secular venues ever since Mahalia Jackson stepped foot for the first time in Carnegie Hall. Since then, gospel has been received in sports stadiums, concert halls, dance clubs, nightclubs, theme parks, restaurants, festivals...and now skating rinks!
Roller skating -- once a pastime linked with the 1950s and 1960s -- has seen a resurgence. Perhaps it's because of the popularity of in-line skating, the need for greater exercise options, or just another venue for clean-cut fun. Regardless of the reason, skaters used to be propelled by chirpy notes caressed out of a Hammond organ, but modern day rollers bop to a highly amplified, super-charged dance track...with a spiritual message.
Gospel Skate nights and events are popping up all over the country. Just check out Skategroove.com for the latest news and events in the gospel skate community.
Also, Marxan Records and BG Records -- both affiliated with the Malaco Music Group --have teamed up to produce what may well become a series of compilation CDs to capitalize on this craze: Gospel Skate Jams.
The first volume of Gospel Skate Jams is scheduled to be released July 12. Richmond, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Washington DC are among the cities targeted for this initial campaign.
What does TBGB think about gospel skating? Very cool! To paraphrase the late Clara Ward, gospel music needs to go beyond the church walls, to "the highways and byways," wherever people gather.
To learn more, go to www.malaco.com or www.skategroove.com.