Tyler Keith film Jesus is My Rock looks at passing traditions through music.
Jesus is My Rock: A Celebration of Gospel Music in Oxford and Lafayette County Mississippi will be screened at the Powerhouse onThursday, August 1 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, with donations being accepted on behalf of the Burns Belfry Church and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.
The film created by local musician Tyler Keith was part of a concert he presented two years ago highlighting the gospel traditions in Oxford. “This music is part of the community because it comes from the families. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, and extended families members share the songs and tradition of singing with children.” says Keith. “[They] in turn pick up traditional songs and sing at church and community events.” Keith filmed the performances by the Love Sisters, Anointed Faith Singers, Jones Family Singers, Soul Conciliators, and several others that night and then interviewed the performers about their groups and music.
The film focuses on how traditions are passed through music. The Jones Sisters, who are highlighted in the film and are listed on the Mississippi Folk Life and Folk Artists Directory, share a story about how one of the sisters could not remember her bible reading when she was little so she just sang. The sisters began to sing together, with eventually all five forming a group. They did not receive any formal musical training but feel they received the gift from the family. The girls sang at their home church and developed their style because they were together all the time. Singing as little girls in church often led to audiences who wanted to her them sing when they saw the family in the grocery store. The grown sisters now perform at special events, festivals, and events covering both traditional songs and original works.
The free event is hosted by the Arts Council and Oxfilm Society at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.
“We felt this project was an opportunity to share the music and traditions of the region” added Wayne Andrews, director of the Arts Council. “This event mixes art forms with Tyler creating a film, capturing stories, and sharing music that the Arts Council wanted to be part of, showing how the arts are part of our community every day.” Instead of an admission fee, volunteers will be accepting donations on behalf of the Burns Belfry Museum and Multicultural center and the Arts Council.
— Tad Wilkes, Nightlife & Entertainment Editor, email@example.com