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Hollywood Mass Choir Sings Its Way to a First at Gospelfest

The year-old amateur group is a surprise winner in the event's adult category.

November 04, 2002|Carla Rivera | Times Staff Writer

The Hollywood Mass Choir, a 40-member ensemble led by a Los Angeles County public defender, won the adult category of the 18th annual Gospelfest at the Shrine Auditorium on Saturday night.

The ceremony marked the culmination of a five-month series of competitions to recognize the best amateur vocal groups from Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Winners in adult choir, youth choir and group categories receive trophies; their participation in perhaps the premier gospel music event in Southern California is considered a mark of honor.

The Hollywood choir, together only a year, was somewhat a surprise winner in the adult category. Under director Patrick Hare, the group comprises a range of cultures, religious denominations and ages, and many of its members have little or no musical background. "It's a thrill to be in such a company of wonderful, loving musicians," Hare said after the win. "Everyone has just thrown their arms around us and welcomed us in an incredible way."

Other finalists in the adult category were the Voices of Zion, the Robert Taylor II Community Mass Choir, Jubilant Voices of Holman and the Mary Lind Foundation Choir. In the youth category, winners were the Voices of Gospel Youth Choir and the Youth Choir of First AME-Pasadena.

On Achord won in the group category. Proceeds from this year's Gospelfest, sponsored by McDonald's, benefit the Ronald McDonald House charities and the African-American Future Achievers Scholarship program, which gives college scholarships.

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