Clarence Jones .jpg (copy)

Clarence Jones will direct the combined men’s choir from New St. John Baptist and Wesley United Methodist churches as part of the Sounds of CommUNITY concert on Sunday.

The Sounds of CommUNITY Concert, “Let Our Prayers Rise Up in Song,” will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 5. The 29th annual concert will be staged at Wesley United Methodist Church, 544 Government St.

With a vespers theme, the concert features Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist prayers and music used at the close of the day.

Sponsored by the Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge, the concert also will include the combined men’s choir from New St. John Baptist and Wesley United Methodist churches under the direction of Clarence Jones, children dancers of the Chosen Academy of Dance and a local high school string quintet.

This concert series was established in 1991 by the late Rev. Charles T. Smith, pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.

When Smith was installed as president of the Interfaith Federation in 1990, he said: “Recent events have made all of us more sensitive to the need for people of goodwill to make their presence felt. The Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge has a unique opportunity to demonstrate love and mutual respect for all, to the rest of the community.”

The Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade, who currently serves as executive director of the federation, said Smith knew music had a way of bringing diverse people together.

"That was true in 1991 when the interfaith community hosted its first concert, and it is especially true today. Recent news of the fatal attacks of worshippers at churches, synagogues and mosques as well as the burning down of three nearby historic African-American churches in Opelousas underscores the immense power of hatred," Bade said. "And yet, in Baton Rouge the interfaith community gathers and finds common ground.

"This concert is a beautiful tradition in Baton Rouge. Music shared among young and old, black and white, Jew and Muslim, Christian and Buddhist provides a powerful tribute to hope and goodwill. Hate will not have the final word. There is another song to sing.”

Bade said a follow-up event, “Music: Universal Language of Peace,” is planned for noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at the East Baton Rouge Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Charlie DeGravelles will direct a various activities to engage people with music and peacemaking.

"The event is designed for local peacekeepers, peacemakers and peace builders who want to become better acquainted, find ways to support each other’s efforts and gain skills in waging peace," Bade said.

The event is open to all, but those attending are asked to RSVP by May 10 at ifedgbr.com or by calling (225) 267-5600.