Myers Park Baptist Church will host a benefit concert this Sunday to benefit the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN).
RAIN is a nonprofit that provides services and resources to people affected by HIV.
Former interim minister of music Tony McNeill said the organization began as a ministry inside of the church before evolving into an independent nonprofit.
Callie Day, a classically-trained opera singer and gospel singer, will perform alongside a choir of musicians from all over Charlotte.
Day, 57, is most known for her viral cover of Moses Hogan’s “Hear My Prayer,” which has more than 6 million views on YouTube.
She also appeared on season 14 of America’s Got Talent where she was a few votes away from making it to the quarterfinals.
QCity Metro spoke with Day ahead of her performance to discuss her opera background, her singing roots and what she is looking forward to.
Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
When did you begin singing gospel?
I’ve been singing [gospel] all my life. I mean, that’s my roots. But there’s only two classically trained opera singers in my family: myself and my mother’s eldest sister, who is 94. And to this day, she still has the pipes. She is the person who introduced me to opera singing, and my grandmother was my first piano teacher. My mama taught me hymns and anthems.
People classify me as a gospel singer, but I’m not; I’m a classically trained opera singer who happens to sing other genres.
How have you seen gospel music evolve?
We’re not original anymore; folks like Walter Edwin Hawkins and Andre Crouch were before their time. No one wants to write, and we’re always sampling, but I’ll take a good ol’ hymn in a minute. It’s also hard to reach all kinds of people at the same time. I think it’s also important to provide our young people with a foundation within gospel music, because when they experience hardship, these babies will have no foundation to get them through.
What’s unique about what you’re bringing to Myers Park?
I love all genres of music, so I like to introduce those other genres in the songs. You may get a little bit of classical here, you may get some spirituals here or just downright southern Baptist.
What are you looking forward to performing?
[I’m looking forward to] just having a good time, spreading God’s love, and letting people know it’s okay to not be okay. And that through God’s hand, we got this.
Worship looks different in traditional Black churches than it does others. How will you connect with the Myers Park audience?
It’s based on song selection. I allow the Lord to use me and the Holy Spirit, to guide the words I sing so that everybody gets something. I’ve taught and sung in multiple churches such as the Catholic Church, AME churches, CME, Southern Baptists and Seventh Day Adventist. But overall, it’s about making eye contact with the audience, singing from your heart and being true to what you know. You should be crying after I’ve finished singing and if you’re not, I didn’t do my job.
If you want to go
When: Sunday, May 21
Where: 1900 Queens Road
Time: 4 p.m.
For more info, visit https://myersparkbaptist.org/event/13357554-2023-05-21-callie-day-in-concert/