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'Sing Harlem Sing' energizes the stage at 54 Below

LINDA ARMSTRONG Special to the AmNews | 8/31/2012, 11:15 a.m.
Vy Higginsen and the Mama Foundation are very busy these days. In addition to presenting...
'Sing Harlem Sing' energizes the stage at 54 Below

Vy Higginsen and the Mama Foundation are very busy these days. In addition to presenting the shows "Sing Harlem Sing" and "Mama I Want to Sing," which will celebrate 30 years in 2013, at the Dempsey Theatre in Harlem, Higginsen is finding other outlets that are welcoming what she has to offer.

Higginsen has her Gospel for Teen participants performing during Sunday brunch at Ginny's in Harlem and recently presented "Sing Harlem Sing" at 54 Below, a nightclub in midtown Manhattan at 254 W. 54th St.

A smaller cast of five singers--compared to the full stage of people you normally see in the show at the Dempsey--still managed to bring the excitement and the energy of the show to the intimate stage with their unique, delightful and powerful voices. The singers--Ahmaya Knoelle Higginsen, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Bettina Pennon, Ne'Lashee' and Craig Stagg--performed an inspiring gospel medley that caused spirits to soar.

Lewis then did a fun tribute to Chuck Berry. Higginsen gave a moving rendition of "All in Love is Fair." Stagg performed a marvelous Marvin Gaye medley and Pennon did Gladys Knight proud as she shared her vocal gifts through "Midnight Train to Georgia." Lewis was wonderful with "It's a Man's World." Ne'Lashee' put power behind her voice as she sang "I Will Survive."

They performed several incredible numbers, and though I won't name them all, I must tell you about "I've Got a Feeling," as that gospel song was done so beautifully. First, their voices started off soft, then they allowed their voices to soar. With their performances came a reverence, respect and love for God that you could feel. It was so uplifting to listen to them that I felt chills. This song was nothing less than great!

The song list of "Sing Harlem Sing" will give you a history lesson on our music and have you singing along and definitely clapping. While enjoying the show you can also enjoy brunch at 54 Below, which includes fluffy French toast, steak salad or shrimp and grits.

And there's more good news. "Sing Harlem Sing" will be back at 54 Below Sept. 8, 15 and 22, so make your reservations. Visit www.54Below.com for more info.