Hezekiah Walker

Hezekiah Walker knows the heartbeat of today’s youth, and they in turn know Walker, as can be witnessed by the popularity of him and his Love Fellowship Crusade Choir.

By Tim A. Smith

In 1994, Walker answered another "let God" calling when he started tile Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn New York. Every church has to have some sort of musical entity; for Love Tabernacle it was the Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church Choir, better known as LFT. Their musical virtuosity is displayed on this self-titled debut album for Verity Records.

At the onset, Walker mandated that there would be no choir at the church. He wanted a church centered on the Word of God and the celebration of the Spirit. The last thing Walker wanted was a music-oriented church engulfed with a number of celebrities.

"We started small, with less than 50 people, herein Brooklyn, New York, where I grew up," Walker recollects. "As far as music was concerned, we had a small praise and worship team led by a young man named Joeworn Martin But after about a year so many good singers had started attending our church Joeworn approached me with the strong conviction that it was time to form a choir of our own."

Joeworn went forth with Pastor Walker's blessings, and in 1995 formed the first Love Fellowship Tabernacle Choir with 20 church members. Today, 60 voices strong, LFT under Joeworn's direction, has established sound and sense of purpose of their own.

Walker has the utmost confidence in the abilities and leadership qualities of Joeworn, someone he initially knew only through his reputation within Brooklyn's church community.

"Initially, my only knowledge of Joeworn was through the reputation he had obtained," says Walker. "I had never heard him play a lick, but God, in His infinite wisdom, showed me that Joeworn was who I needed to head up the music department at the church."

Walker adds, "This album displays just how talented this young man is. Along with conducting the choir, he sings and plays keyboards on most of the songs as well as writing or co-writing a majority of the songs. Realistically speaking, Joeworn is the very heart and soul of the choir."

Although Walker has distanced himself from the choir, allowing them to develop their own identity, for the album he took and active role, serving in the capacity of executive producer together with co-producing the album with Donald Lawrence.

"From the start, LFT has been a choir with an identity all its own," says Walker. But any thing I get into to any degree is going to come out with at least a bit of me and my sound and who I am running through it. This is by no means a Love Fellowship Crusade Choir album. But at the same time, almost anybody who's gotten into those albums is going to pick right up on LFT, and I think it, will even take them places they don't expect."

Joeworn and LFT present an album chock full of music earmarked for those who enjoy the traditional sound of Sunday morning church music.

"So much of today's gospel music is in an urban contemporary radio kind of pocket," says Walker. "It's great, but it's not the kind of thing a congregation and choir can sink their teeth into in a church setting. The music on LFT's album is more traditional gospel at its foundation with a strong flavoring of contemporary influences, instead of the other way around."

The album contains a number of songs that one could easily "get their praise on" to. Getting things off to a rollicking start are four high-octane rockers in a row; I Will Bless The Lord, Do You Know Him, Glad To Be Alive and He's Holy. Walker moves from the producer's chair to lend a lead vocal to the track Teach Me. Slowing down the pace, ushering in an atmosphere of reflection and praise are ballads Is such as Help Me Pray, King Of Kings, You Kept Me' and He'll Be There. Hezekiah Wall or has a special place in his heart for LFT.

"I feel a very special gratification in this choir," says Walker. "I've seen it grow from a dream to a wonderful, anointed reality. This is my baby I have the joy and contentment of a father who's seen his children grow up strong straight true and doing great things for the Lord.

Reprinted by Permission from Sound and Spirit Christian Music Club.