The 75th National Gospel Choir/Chorus Convention – 2008

The images presented here were captured to preserve the historical importance of this trip for members of the Raleigh-Durham Triangle Chapter and North East Baptist Church which is pastored by Dr. Wesley Elam, Sr. The images cover our entire trip and not just one aspect of it.

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During the week of August 3rd through the 9th I had the opportunity to travel with some other church members to Chicago, IL. We attended the “75th National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses” and we explored the Windy City when time permitted.

Note: I’ve tried to arrange this blog entry in such a way that it makes it easier for you find and view the images of interest to you. However, I encourage you to PACE YOURSELF and visit each photo gallery over several days so that you can experience the entire story.

Here is an index of the various sections that you will find within this blog entry.

  1. Getting There
  2. The Hotel
  3. Exploring The City
  4. The Convention (Monday – Friday)
  5. Shoe Care Specialist
  6. Kids Playing & First Meal
  7. Miscellaneous Pics

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Our story begins in Durham, NC where we attended church and then made our way to the airport to catch our flight on SouthWest Airlines. We had a good time just sitting around in the airport and our flights were very peaceful. Upon arrival in Chicago we quickly secured our luggage and then focused all of our efforts on finding a shuttle to get us to our hotel. To our surprise, we ended up getting on the wrong shuttle and had to back track to the airport to catch the correct shuttle. Once we arrived at the hotel we were met by Minister Roland Perry II and he filled us in on what was to take place for the week. I invite you to take some time to view the departure and return photos.

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Our home away from home was the Hilton Chicago which is located in the downtown area. This was a very nice hotel and became our 2nd home at the end of a our busy days. If I remember correctly there were 24+ floors to this hotel. Certain elevators only went to specific floors and it took some getting used to. After getting lost several times we soon got our bearings and became comfortable learning our way around. There is much more to the hotel than what I was able to capture but it will give you an idea of what parts of it are like. I invite you to take a peek into the hotel by viewing the hotel picture gallery.
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The scene above was captured one morning as we walked out of the hotel to make our way to Dunkin Doughnuts to grab some breakfast. Since this is my blog then I can say that I don’t care if I don’t see another Dunkin Doughnuts for a few years. Okay, moving on . . . Chicago, IL – The Windy City. The ironic thing is that while we were there there wasn’t any wind at all. For the majority of our days we spent our time in convention classes, rehearsals and service. However, we made sure that we had enough time to explore the downtown areas of the city. We made our way down to the shoreline of Lake Michigan, explored downtown stores, ate authentic Chicago Deep dish pizza at a place called Pizano’s, we visited a park to take photographs, jumped on the free trolley to get a tour of the city, briefly visited the art institute and more. There were many visually interesting sites to capture and I invite you to take a look at Chicago through my eyes.
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If you spent the time to view the galleries before this one then you were probably thinking “When is he going to get to the convention pictures”. Well here we are! The image above is a powerful image which gives you an idea of how many people were involved BEFORE all the seats got filled and people were forced to stand in the aisle. If you think the scene in the picture is moving then think consider what the book of Revelation says in Chapter 7 verse 9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;” There is a lot of symbolism in the picture above and it is one of many images captured during the “Consecration Service”.

I’m not here to teach but to share the images and therefore I will keep moving.What can I say about the convention? (sigh letting out air). It was AN AWESOME JESUS CHRIST FILLED EXPERIENCE!! It had such an impact on me that when I was post processing the pictures I felt a sense of sadness because I longed for the environment that one experiences when they are surrounded by a multitude of people praising and worshipping God. Why was I saddened? I missed the fellowship, the high praise environment, the young people that love God and aren’t afraid to express it, the energetic but bible based preaching and the diverse music. Just realize that the ambience lasted for SEVEN DAYS without end. Don’t take this the wrong way because we should all praise God in our homes by ourselves and in our churches but when you’re surrounded so many other people doing it “all the time” then that is a different experience all together.Belows these quick directions you will see the days of the week Monday through Friday. There is a SINGLE gallery for each day of the week. The bulleted topics beneath each day are QUICK LINKS to specific sets of photographs WITHIN each gallery.

You have two ways to view the photographs associated with each day of the week.

  1. You can select your topic of interest and go straight to those pictures.
  2. To guarantee that you see all the pictures for a particular day just click on the “Click Here To View Photos” button.

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Since I know that people were getting anxious to get to the convention pictures I decided to continue with “other” pictures at this point. As I walked around the Hilton Chicago I ran into a man named Donald. He was very soft spoken and was patiently waiting to get some business. I wore sneakers most of the time and my dress shoes were already in good condition but I still wanted to capture the essence of his setup in a respectful manner. Donald gave me permission to photograph everything and in return I tipped him for his cooperation and time. I invite you to view more images of Donald and his setup.

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A trip to a different city wouldn’t be fair for the children if we didn’t just let them break free and have some fun. This gallery is devoted to some of that activity because if the truth be told the children had a demanding schedule as well. Brent hooked up with some other teens and would be gone for hours on end. A few of our church members even ran into him a local eating place. Speaking of eating.. this gallery also contains images of our first meal in Chicago.

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The picture above was taken of me and the children eating breakfast at Dunkin Doughnuts. This miscellaneous gallery contains a few random images that didn’t really fall well into any of the other galleries. I invite you to view them.

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I hope that you have enjoyed this documentary of our trip to Chicago.

Visit www.ivanwatkins.com for all of your photographic needs.

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