NYC Day Parties: Goin’ to church at Sundae Sermon

Leon and DJ Stormin'  Norman
Photo Courtesy of : DJ Stormin' Norman via Facebook

On a wet but warm Sunday afternoon in St. Nicholas Park in Harlem, the Minster of Music, DJ Stormin’ Norman delivered a different type of Sundae Sermon.  It was the gospel according to house and   we went to “church”.   There was singing, dancing and even a few amens!

A free mini-festival in Harlem, Sundae Sermon is the brainchild of  DJ Stormin’ Norman.  It’s a house music revival for the faithful but also a celebration of community and family. Sundae Sermon’s mission is to strengthen the community of Harlem through the arts.  The party attracts people of all ages, backgrounds and even few celebs.

The Minster of Music got the afternoon started with some vintage soulful house.   His parties are like an annual pilgrimage for old school house heads and when I closed my eyes I imagined that I  was on the dance floor during the halcyon days of  Paradise Garage. The crowd sang along with the classics and dance with exuberance.   Sundae Sermon coincided with Pride weekend making it an especially jubilant affair.

Guy with shirt smallerHouse Head Smallest FLagYoung couple at Sundae Sermon copy smaller

Not content to rest on nostalgia, artists mixed older tracks with the new. DJ Kevin Hedge blended old school gospel-like belters seamlessly with minimal modern tracks.  A highlight to his set was a perfectly timed cloudburst that seemed to sync with the thunderous drumbeat emanating from the decks.

Smaller Guy dancingSmaller drummer        Dancing on the step smaller Dancing in the street smaller

Sundae Sermon isn’t just a dance party but a family reunion of sorts.  Attendees made their place long the hillside just above the dance floor.  They setup picnics, visited with old friends some even barbecued. Children played games on the lawn while parents grooved to the tunes below.

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A pair of live performances by Louie Vega artists Adeva and  Nomsa Mazwai finished up the afternoon.   Adeva performed her newest song “I Deserve to Breathe and shouts of amen rained down upon her as she finished her house rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect!” . Where Adeva was classic soulful diva, South African artist Nomsa Mazwai was modern world music chanteuse.   Mazwai’s sung her hit “ Traveller”  an afro-deep house stunner.   She added a touch a global house flair, to this classic house event.

Noma Mazwai  Photo Courtesy: Peace of Mind Publishings, Inc.

Noma Mazwai Photo Courtesy: Peace of Mind Publishings, Inc.

During the party you could hear shouts of “church” and the Sundae Sermon experience is a bit like it.  When African Americans use “church” , it means telling the truth or hearing the gospel.  Music can be a type of gospel and  you go to church to replenish your soul.  For those of us who love house music,  dancing replenishes our soul.  But it’s not just about the party, it’s the moments shared with friends you haven’t seen in a while,  it’s the families building new memories and teaching the next generation about this thing we call house.

The music shutdown around 7pm and the dance floor was still packed.  No one was ready to go home.  Good thing we don’t  have to wait too long for the next Sundae Sermon, it’s Aug 9.

Can't wait  for the 2nd rounc

Can’t wait for the 2nd round!


One Response to NYC Day Parties: Goin’ to church at Sundae Sermon

  1. Gina Nelson says:

    A beautiful recount of what Sundae Sermon is all about!!!

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