Shades of Praise: New Orleans’ Interracial Gospel Choir promotes harmony by blending cultures and voices in a dynamic, interracial gospel choir. Rather than singing different gospel traditions, the choir sings contemporary gospel music in an African American style.
Founded in October, 2000 by a theologian from Loyola University and a well-known New Orleans jazz vocalist, the choir engaged the services of an experienced and highly regarded gospel choirmaster, Mr. Albert Bemiss.
Members of the choir come from different religious traditions, different New Orleans neighborhoods, different countries and a wide spectrum of professional backgrounds. Shades of Praise is proud to call itself a community choir.
In learning to sing together, to praise and give thanks, and to do so with enthusiasm, grace and style, the choir brings healing to its members and to its audiences.
In addition to singing in the Gospel Tent at the Louisiana Jazz and Heritage Festival since 2003, Shades has performed at outdoor music festivals, in churches, auditoriums, conference centers, parks and schools around New Orleans. In 2003, Shades of Praise traveled to Northern Ireland for a round of concerts in Protestant and Catholic churches, singing as well for the President of Ireland. Three months after Hurricane Katrina, Shades was brought to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to sing in hospitals, churches, and at Wake Forest University to raise funds for disaster relief. In September 2007, Shades sang for the Archbishop of Canterbury at a performance organized by the Episcopal House of Bishops in New Orleans. During the spring of 2008, Shades was brought to St. Paul, Minnesota and sang in a number of churches there, bringing together different creeds and backgrounds. In 2009, Shades was honored to be asked to sing the National Anthem for the Sugar Bowl game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.