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Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011

MPS Alumni Gospel Choir

We Are One

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Multicultural, multigenerational and nonsectarian enough to have received an invitation to sing at a United Nations event, Milwaukee Public Schools' Alumni Gospel Choir keeps its approach basic for We Are One. Piano, with what sounds like sparse use of organ, accompanies voices and hand claps. Free of effects and flash appeal—save for the ensemble's robes, of course—We Are One has more in common with the "art gospel" of Sweet Honey in the Rock than what is currently offered on commercial Christian radio. Both the public domain material and the original works are strong on spirit and, more often than not, technical finesse. A couple of numbers with Latin melodic flair make the cut, too, mixed in with adaptations of African-American hymnody and spirituals.