12/21/14 O&A Gospel Sunday Holiday Series: Soulful Noel


Gospel Sunday

Soul Noel Graphic (1)poster

Soulful Noel is an original holiday musical conceived by Walter Rutledge. The production was in response to the lack of entertainment offer to, and featuring the underserved African-American population of the Low Country South Carolina. It premiered in 1994 at the Garden Theater in Charleston, S.C.

The musical was highly anticipated and performed throughout the southeast for fourteen years, the cast included dancers from local dance schools, an interdenominational mass choir, local musicians  professional performers and international gospel artists. In 1996 Benedict College under the auspices of  Benedict College President, David H. Swinton produced the musical. After 1o sold-out performances  and four encore performances on the college campus Soulful Noel moved to the 3,000 seat Township Auditorium. 

The musical received local acclaim appearing before sold out audiences in 1998 in Columbia and Spartanburg South Carolina. In 2005 the City of Orlando Downtown Redevelopment Board requested the musical as part of the city’s revitalization program. From 2006 until 2008 Soulful Noel appeared in Miami at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium during the holiday season and returned to the Township  Auditorium in 2008. 


Mary and Gabriel (2008)

The Angel Gabriel informs Mary she has conceived the Christ child. Gabriel reassured her that faith would resolve all of her fears. Bill Lloyd performed the role of Gabriel and Regina Skeeter was Mary.

The Angel Jennifer (2008)

Joseph spurns Mary after finding out Mary is pregnant. The Angel Jennifer appears and comforts Mary. Joseph- Erik Glenn, Mary- Regina Skeeters, Angel Jennifer- Jennifer Holliday. Holliday sings Duke Ellington’s Come Sunday in the production. She received a Grammy Award (1985) for Best Inspirational Performance, Gospel for her rendition of the Ellington classic.  


The Inn (2005)

Joseph (Erik Glenn) and Mary (Larue Stewart) finally find an inn. They encounter a surly innkeeper (Raymond Holmes) who does not want to help the couple, until his wife (Tremaine Hawkins) intercedes. The innkeeper eventually gives in and he and his wife confirm their love and faith with (Tremaine Hawkins). A tour de force performance by Holmes and Hawkins. Gospel legend Walter Hawkins wrote the song and was originally performed by Walter and Tremaine Hawkins.  

More Abundantly (2005)

The finale song More Abundantly conducted by gospel showman “the one and only” Ricky Dillard. Dillard was the choir director of the 1996, 1997, and 2005 productions. For the finale the 150 voice adult and 100 member young adult choirs combined for a “soulful” ending. 

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