It’s been quite awhile since we last heard from choir legend, Joe Pace. How may people remember The Colorado Mass Choir? We got a chance to catch up with Joe Pace and he let us on on what he’s been doing over the last few years, the current state of the choir and his adaptation to social media. 🙂
By Hasan James
After being in the industry for over two decades, what does Joe Pace have to offer the ever-changing gospel music industry in 2016?
I do not take it for granted that somehow through God’s divine providence, I have had the privilege of being just a small part of this great industry for the past several years. I also humbly acknowledge the giants and pioneers who’ve gone before me and upon whose shoulders I, and so many others like me, stand. Having said that, I pray what I offer to the ever-changing landscape of Gospel Music is actually consistency. It is my goal to continue to produce not only great church music that encourages and inspires the listener, but also to produce music that is accessible to the local church, the local praise team, the local choir, all in an continued effort to promote great worship at the local level. Over the past 20 years, I’ve realized that I have to stay true to that call, regardless of what may be shifting around me.
You have penned such great classics like “Glad About It” and “We Worship You” in a time when choir music was at the forefront of the gospel music culture. What are your thoughts on the current state of gospel music as it pertains to choir music?
The reports of the death of the church choir have been greatly exaggerated!! The choir in the local church is still one of the most powerfully relevant and critical expressions of worship today. The choir has been the backbone and foundation upon which so many careers and ministries have been launched, and we must not abandon it. The choir will and should always be an important part of the industry, and we have to resist the temptation to lessen or discount that importance and seek to maintain and reflect a healthy “balance” of all the various styles/expressions of worship. Let me also say that… While I certainly understand the need to adapt, change and expand the reach of gospel music, I pray that we in the industry always have the courage to maintain our standards, remember our history and keep the “main thing, the main thing”…. The gospel in the music.
What current artists do you think has what it takes to take gospel music to the next level?
Well, with all due respect to those that are new on the gospel music scene, there are those who have been around for quite a while, who continue to blaze trails and set standards. Artists like Hezekiah Walker who still produces songs (choir music I might add), that seem to just take up residence on top of the radio charts! That being said, there are new artists as well like Anthony Brown, Tamela Mann, Travis Greene and so many others that continue to push the bar and raise levels. That is good for gospel music and ultimately, that is good for the advancement of the Kingdom of God!
What have you been doing since the release of your last project?
Wow, it has been a minute hasn’t it? Well we made a pretty big transition 3 years ago now to join the work in Jacksonville at The Shiloh Church, so a lot of time has been spent adjusting to my role working at the church and building the music ministry I have been charged to serve. Of course dealing with the actual transition itself has taken time, and then I’ve also just been taking some time to “recharge” personally (spiritually and musically). I now host my own weekly radio program: “The Joe Pace Radio Show” and I’ve been traveling quite a bit conducting workshops and teaching about worship ministry. It does feel great however, to have the opportunity to step back “on to the scene” and into writing and production with a new project. It was time!
Tell us a bit about your upcoming project Joe Pace presents: H.B. Charles, Jr. and The Shiloh Church Choir Project.
It was indeed an honor to be able to produce this project that features the ministry of my pastor and well-known preacher, teacher and author, H.B. Charles Jr. and The Shiloh Church out of Jacksonville, FL (where I also have the privilege of serving as Pastor Of Worship). Yes, while most will agree that over the past few years there has been a decline in great church album projects, this LIVE album puts good church music squarely back on center stage. It offers a great collection of diverse, yet accessible church music (several of the songs written by myself and H.B. Charles Jr.), along with fresh Pace arrangements of church classics, that we believe makes this project one that will not only bless every listener, but also practically work in any church setting.