Last Voice Standing winner is quite ‘Polite’

James W. Wade III | 8/4/2014, 12:09 p.m.
Stellar Award Winner Maurette Brown Clark is one of gospel music’s sweethearts. Originally from Long Island, New York, she began ...
Transitional Housing Executive Director Sherri Brandon, Last Voice Standing organizer Danita Harris and the 2014 Last Voice Standing winner Polite. Photo by James W. Wade III

From the early days when musicals were held at Open Door Baptist Church, Cleveland has been known for producing some the greatest talent in music. And, after witnessing Danita Harris’ Gospel Competition at the Second Ebenezer Baptist Church this past Saturday, it’s easy to see the tradition is being kept alive.

The registration open at 7:30 a.m. and not long after people started coming in to audition before judges Nawassa Brown Williams, Pastor Eddie Burge III and Akron’s Jennifer Mekel.

People of all ages came out, making it a fun filled morning. The purpose for it all, to help Transitional Housing and everyone associated with domestic violence.

James Walker came in singing Douglas Miller’s “My Soul is Anchor” and got three yes votes right away. Then there was a lady by the name of Danielle Barnes who seemed to have poise and everything it took to make it. She too received three yes votes as the judges and others felt the anointing coming from her.

The judges finally narrowed it down to 8 who will make it to the final competition that started at 2 p.m. This part was open to the public and turned out to be a service for God.

The judges for this portion were songbird Stacey Richardson Crawford (Sarah’s Girl), Bishop Brandon Owens, and Sunday Best’s Geoffrey Golden. The MC for the afternoon was 93.1 WZAK’s Sam Sylk who kept the service moving both with laughter and praise.

After selections from Monica Black, James Walker, Danielle Barnes and others the competition was over when the last group came up to sing. These young people ages ranged from 17 to 10 and they brought the house down.

Polite is not only the name of the group but the way they were raised by their parents. Polite blew everybody away with their four part harmony and scored a perfect 10 by all three judges to win the competition.

“This will not be a last time doing this,” said Harris. “We were able to get a lot of great voices to come out and be a part of this great competition where GOD was first the whole day.”

The group Polite will open for Maurette Brown Clark and Vashawn Mitchell on Friday, August 29, at Mt. Zion Oakwood Village at 7:30 p.m. Mitchell was born and raised in Chicago, IL, where, in his early teens, he became assistant music director of St. Mark Baptist Church. He worked with choir leader Lonnie Hunter then became minister of music at Sweet Holy Spirit Church under Bishop Larry D. Trotter.

Stellar Award Winner Maurette Brown Clark is one of gospel music’s sweethearts. Originally from Long Island, New York, she began her singing career with her family group, The Brown Singers. Throughout her formative years, she continued singing with choirs, groups, as well as studying classical piano. Her first CD, entitled ‘How I Feel,’ was released in 1998 on Verity Records. This CD featured the radio friendly, “Breaking of Day.”

For this work, she received the Stellar Award for Best New Artist in 1999.

“It was an honor to be asked to be a judge for this great event. The talent that came in here was a gift from God, Cleveland has some amazing singers that are using their gift to worship and celebrate God in song,” said Nawassa Brown Williams.

On August 29, This Evening of Hope benefit concert will be hosted by Fox 8 Cleveland’s Wayne Dawson, WOIO’s Harry Boomer, WKYC TV 3’s AJ Ross, Radio One’s Kym Sellers and 95.5 The Fish’s Brooke Taylor. The purpose of this concert is help Transitional Housing Inc. and a portion to benefit The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center.

Transitional housing is supportive housing that helps fight the homeless problem in today’s society. Transitional housing is generally for a limited time period. Stays can be from two weeks to twenty four months. Transitional housing provides people with help after a crisis such as homelessness or domestic violence.

Tickets went on sale Monday, July 28, for this big event on August 29, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert start at 7:30 p.m.

To purchase tickets go to www.eveningofhopebenefitconcert.eventbrite.com.