Holy Thursday with a Soulful Music Celebration

By Journalist Ms. Jones

NEWBURGH – Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is the holy day that falls on the Thursday before Easter. Christians celebrate it to remember the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles. On Thursday, March 29, the Newburgh Community celebrated it with a Soulful Music Celebration and a supper at the First United Methodist Church.

Performers included Charles Paul, the Paul Family Faithlock, Grammy Nominated Recording Artist Jermaine Paul, and the newly formed Newburgh International Choir directed by Jermaine Paul.

“The Newburgh International Choir… was birthed from an idea that came to me after the [Christmas] Candlelight Service [on December 22, 2017]… My sister Crystal… we had a conversation, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to create an outlet for the singers that are here in Newburgh?’” said Jermaine Paul who started the choir about a month ago. Jermaine Paul won season two of NBC’s “The Voice” and travels internationally to sing. He plans to travel overseas with the choir as well.

“I was told, ‘If I’m gonna dream, If I’m gonna think, why should any thought be small. I might as well think big, if I’m gonna think at all,’” said Jermaine Paul.

The choir sang original music written by Jermaine Paul titled “I Will Go.” He is still recruiting singers and musicians for the choir.

Recording Artist Onita Boone sang at the Soulful Music Celebration, that was held on Thursday, March 29, 2018. Photo: Vanessa Williamson

Jermaine Paul plans to put out new music by the end of spring. The name of his new album will be “Make Love, Save the World.”

Renown Recording Artist Onita Boone, affectionately known as Oni, came all the way from Cologne, Germany where she currently resides to her hometown of Newburgh to sing at the service.

“This is the place where I was born and raised. Everything about my character, everything about my testimony, everything about who I am even as a performer I learned in the churches here… It feels amazing to come home,” said Boone who is known for her performances in the Broadway and Off-Broadway stage plays “Mama I want to Sing,” “Arms too Short to Box with God,” and “The Blacker the Berry the Sweeter the Juice.”

In Germany, Boone won a TV show called “The Winner Is.” Contestants battled each other for numerous rounds being judged by an audience. After each round someone was eliminated, while the other moved on. Before the results were given, money was offered and the contestants could choose to take the money and walk away or see if they could make it another round. The final round was worth one million dollars. Boone won the million dollars!
Boone certainly has a testimony. A doctor told her that she had two days to live. A doctor told her that she would never have kids. She is fifty-three years-old and has a seventeen-year-old daughter.

“God is a healer… I have Crohn’s disease. I’ve had it… since I was two years-old. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me for a very long time. So, I just grew worse and worse,” said Boone who has had twenty-nine surgeries.

Boone has a choir in Cologne, Paris, and the Netherlands. She has several CDs and plans to release a new album by the summer.

Bishop Jeffrey Woody presented Onita Boone and Jermaine Paul with proclamations by NYS Senator William J. Larkin, Jr. and Newburgh’s Mayor Judy Kennedy for their devotion to the community. Pastor Derrick Watson and First Lady Crystal Paul-Watson of First United Methodist Church also presented them with appreciation plaques for bringing their gifts back to Newburgh

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