TAMPA —To set foot onto a NFL field for the first time stirs more than butterflies in the stomach. It’s like plugging your spirit into 10,000 watts of grid iron legends. Maybe it’s the lights, maybe it’s the fogginess of the field, but last Thurs., Aug 28, it was the harmonies of The Original NFL Gospel Choir as they sang the National Anthem prior to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Washington Redskins game.
Choir Director Mark Payne moved graciously about as sound technicians scurried around him making sure every wire, every mike and every note would fulfill its purpose.
Smiling from ear-to-ear, Payne knew that when the clock struck 7:20 p.m., the NFL Gospel Choir, all singing at one time, would be a demigod event with fluid harmonies rising high above Raymond James Stadium and summoning God and his angels to rain down the spirit of “We will not be denied in 2014!”
(In days of yore, harmonic chants, trumpets and drums summoned the spirit of courageous gladiators who took to land and sea to defend their throne and their gods).
The choir is comprised of such as legends as Jerry Bell, Beau Jarrell, Henry Lawrence, Kenny Greene, Lee Paige, Don Ratliff, Rusty Russell, Barry Smith, Gary Huff, Joe Jackson and Chidi Ahanotu.
Who is The Original NFL Gospel Choir?
Former and current players developed the choir to show love for God and express their faith through music. The choir was inspired by the late Hall of Famer Reggie White, known as the “Minister of Defense.”
The Original NFL Gospel Choir is bringing a light to the world through music. It is a culturally diverse group of approximately 25-30 players who are Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, Walter Payton Man of the Year, Heisman Trophy and Hall of Fame champions.
The collection of inspirational music the choir sings feeds the soul as well as gives the NFL players, former and current, a platform to bring more of the family, faith and football element to the league and their fans.
The choir’s performances give football fans and the world an opportunity to see the Christian side of the superstar players as they shout and sing a joyful noise unto God.
The NFL choir story can be seen this Saturday on WFLA Newschannel 8 on the Bucs Bonus Pregame Show starting at 7 p.m.