Saturday, March 31, 2018

Vespers: The Old Rugged Cross

This is Kaoma Chende singing "The Old Rugged Cross."

Chende is singing all four parts using special software to recreate himself. "I came across a video on YouTube of a guy who did all the parts himself," he said. "I found the software, and the rest is history."
First he records the vocals, he said, creating an audio track. "My range is such that I can do all parts," he said, though he may have to tweak a line or change the key a bit to accommodate the bass line. "I thank God I am able to do all of the parts," he said. 
Once the audio track is in place, he adds the video, stationing the camera in place and moving his own position -- with different hats and accessories-- to create the illusion of four musicians in the same room. 
He lip synchs along with the audio track, remembering at which point in the song he has looked in which direction to enhance the illusion.
The son of a Christian minister, he up in Zambia singing old hymns in four-part harmony with his friends. "As life happens, they moved on, " he said, and he, himself, came to the United States to study computers at Lake Michigan College.
Evangelist and song-leader George Bennard (1873–1958) wrote this hymn in 1912.As a Methodist evangelist, Bennard wrote the first verse of "The Old Rugged Cross" in Albion, Michigan, in the fall of 1912 as a response to ridicule that he had received at a revival meeting. Bennard traveled with Ed E. Mieras from Chicago to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where they held evangelistic meetings at the Friends Church from December 29, 1912 to January 12, 1913. 
During the meetings Rev. Bennard finished the hymn, and on the last night of the meeting Bennard and Mieras performed it as a duet before a full house. The completed version was then performed on June 7, 1913, by a choir of five, accompanied by a guitar in Pokagon, Michigan, at the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon.
Pokagon is but 12 miles from Niles, Michigan, where Chende lives.

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