Singer Alonzo Chadwick joins MSO for 'Home for the Holidays' concert
When the Maryland Symphony Orchestra performs its Home for the Holidays concert Saturday, Dec. 15 and Sunday Dec. 16, guest artist Alonzo Chadwick will be right in his element.
The 38-year-old gospel singer got his professional start in a show called Gospel Christmas with the Oregon Symphony. He has performed and shared the stage with artists such as Josh Groban, India Arie, CeCe Winans, Pink Martini, David Banner, Storm Large, Linda Hornbuckle, Janice Scroggins and many others.
“When I graduated from high school, I moved to California...” he said during a telephone interview from Portland, Ore., where he was raised and resides. “Then I came back to Portland and got back into singing again with Gospel Christmas.”
That was in 2006, Chadwick said, and he has sung with the show every year since.
“Home for the Holidays” at The Maryland Theatre will be similar to “Gospel Christmas” with recognizable Christmas songs including “O Holy Night,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and others “but with a gospel twist,” he said.
“It will be the Maryland Symphony playing musical accompaniment to gospel musicians,” Chadwick said. “Kind of a coming together or a marriage of the two genres to put on this amazing show.”
The second half of Home for the Holidays will be different than Gospel Christmas, he said, in that there will be a sing-along in the second half.
“The audience will sing along with the Christmas songs, and I’m very excited about that,” Chadwick said.
In addition to Chadwick, other guest artists will be vocalist Kristen DiMercurio, Williamsport High School Choir, and DaNell Daymon and Greater Works Gospel Choir. Greater Works is a Washington, D.C. area-based group that earned a place as a semi-finalist last year on TV’s “America’s Got Talent.”
Chadwick become involved with Home for the Holidays as a result of previous professional encounters with MSO Executive Director Stephen Marc Beaudoin, who he said worked in the Portland area.
“I met Stephen through ‘Gospel Christmas.’ He came often, I think almost annually,” Chadwick said “We collaborated in choirs and events. He called and asked if I’d be willing to come (to Maryland). I said I’d be more than willing to come and do that.”
This will be Chadwick’s first time doing a performance similar to “Gospel Christmas” outside of Portland.
“I know the audience can expect to be wowed by the choir and the song selections. It’s going to be a great concert,” he said.
Chadwick, who was born and lived in Nebraska until he was school-aged, said he first gained attention for singing in first grade. That show also was a Christmas program.
He doesn’t know what the song he sang was, he said, but he recalls that is was a children’s tune about waking up on Christmas morning with the lyrics, “Come on and wake me and shake me. Don’t let me sleep too late.”
He sang under the radar in a church choir until he was in around the 8th grade and the absence of a featured singer necessitated a replacement.
“I volunteered to do it and everyone looked at me like, ‘Yeah, right.’ I said, ‘I can do it.’ They said, ‘No, you can’t,’” Chadwick said. “So while I was rehearsing, they all looked shocked. They said, ‘Wow. You really can. And that’s pretty high.’”
Not otherwise a fan of school at the time, singing in the choir became his “reason for getting out of bed in the morning,” Chadwick said.
Today, Chadwick owns his own business singing and providing singers for a touring shows.
Playfully named ZoulFul Music, his company name is derived from his nickname and his zeal for music.
“My nickname is ‘Zo,’ short for ‘Alonzo,’” he said. “My style of singing is soulful. So instead of soulful, I said ‘Zoulful.’”
Top photo: Gospel singer Alonzo “Zo” Chadwick will perform with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra at the 2018 Home for the Holidays concert. (Submitted photo)