Mike McCoy & Voices United
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Mike McCoy & Voices United


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The best kept secret in music


"Review of Ready By Voices United"

Superb production of church voices distinguish this live-recorded project titled Ready from Mike McCoy & Voices United. Consistent all the way through, from choir to soloists, is a richness of tone combined with that undefined church gritiness.

McCoy has pulled together some of Metropolitan Washington area to deliver a fine and highly tuneful collection of church-ready Gospel. Joined by Andre Webb (Richard Smallwood, Stephen Hurd, Wintley Phipps) on production (he also handles drums), McCoy's experience on organ with some of Gospel's finest (Thomas Whitfield, Donald Lawrence, Myrna Summers) shines through. P.J. Morgan's musical direction goes hand in hand to make this a great team.

The 25 voices of Voices United start things off with "Psalm 66", a choir's praise set to keyboards and written by Min. Marvin McCoy. Smooth key changes raise the exaltation as the song transitions to the rhythms-based "We've Come To Praise Him" as Clev Battle ad libs easily amidst the snappy choir phrasing.

Vanessa Williams, known for her solo efforts in Richard Smallwood's Vision, steps out on "Lord I Surrender", rendering a sweet quietness in tone at the opening. Voices United rise in unison as the song opens up into a broad offering of praise, contrasted by soft chording. Williams' expressive lead is quite literally full of power while being wonderfully restrained at times through the eight-plus minute cut.
Stephen Hurd, one of the capital region's noted praise and worship songleaders (see album review), writes "There's Power In His Name", showing that simplicity in melodic line is sometimes the most effective. Jackie Glover and Rev. Daniel Harrison share lead.

There's a lot to dig into here. Songs such as the title cut with Eld. Paul Rhinehart freely interpreting the lyric in spontaneous fashion are representative. The band gets free reign on the instrumental reprise of the song. The project finishes with McCoy's gentle composition "My Prayer", a seven-minute choral harmony-filled and fitting end to a stellar record.

Producers: Mike McCoy, Andre Webb
album release date: June 2000

— reviewed by Stan North — - GospelFlava.com, Stan North

"Local Choir Wins $5,000 At Gospel Slam Finale"

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Mike McCoy and Voices United, a group of local ministers, praise and worship leaders, and Sunday school teachers, walked away with the 1st Annual Gospel Slam Finale prize on Sunday at H20 in Southwest D.C. The competition was sponsored by ChristianHangSuite.com.

Mike McCoy and Voices United, directed by Mike McCoy, a member of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, beat The Howard University Gospel Choir and the Celebration Choir of Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church to carry home the grand prize of $5,000.According to Terence Hope, a singer-songwriter who served as one of the three judges, Mike McCoy and Voices United “had a great presentation and the director had command of his choir. They also had worship on their face the whole time. They were walking in the light.”

Dressed in stylish all-white attire, McCoy and his choir sang two original songs, including “There is Power in His Name” and “In Worship.” During their performance before a crowd of about 300, McCoy said, “This is not about a competition. It’s about celebrating Jesus.”

During the American Idol-style competition, judge Kimberly Knight, a member of a gospel artist association, said of McCoy and his group, “I enjoyed the fact that I could hear your testimony. I also appreciate the fact that your choir director could work with the challenges of the space.”

Hope said, “You worshipped zealously and sincerely. You were focused on The Holy Spirit. The worship and the directing were excellent. I was blessed by it.”

Kevin Parker, 32, co-founder and CEO of ChristianHangSuite.com, an internet portal for Black Christians, said that about 15 choirs competed over a three-month period and that three choirs were selected for the Grand Slam Finale. According to Parker, “It wasn’t really about the money. It was about young Christians and choirs coming together to worship.” Parker said that for the past year, Christian HangSuite.com has been hosting First Sundays, the official Sunday “after-flow” for the “Grown and Saved.”

During Sunday’s Grand Slam Finale, judges evaluated each group based on a ten-point scoring system that included technique of choir, song selection, presentation of performance, technical merit of director, and overall impression.

According to judge DeJa Bailey, a gospel artist in her own right, making a final decision was very difficult for her. Addressing The Howard University Gospel Choir, Bailey said, “I’m supposed to be composed as a judge, but I wanted to be up and running around. You are awesome; You were a blessing to our spirit. Your ministry is so infectious. As young people, you can disarm people, grab their hands, and take them to God.”

For many in the audience, picking a winner was equally difficult for them. Felisha Jones, 31, a Silver Spring resident, said, “I felt Howard was really in the Spirit, but I thought Celebration was really mature. How they could go back and forth with their pitch and hit those high notes was really incredible. That’s hard to do.”

Of Celebration, the only church choir represented, Hope said, “Technically, you did an intense job.” “And the fact that you look good speaks volumes,” said Knight.

Parker, a member of Ebenezer AME in Fort Washington, MD, said he would like to expand the competition to different cities. “We had the gospel group Virtue come by and make a special appearance today, and we’ve had Byron Cage and Kim Burrell come by in the past. But with this competition, we want to focus on local artists.” - Washington Informer, Edith Billups


Ready, Released June 2000
Continue To Continue, To Release @007


Feeling a bit camera shy


Some people enter music ministry because the heritage of gospel music runs in their veins. Others enter the ministry because they’ve heard the call of God for their lives. Mike McCoy has been blessed to experience both. McCoy and his group, Mike McCoy & Voices United, a powerful and dynamic singing aggregation, has been purposed to draw souls to Christ and to minister to those who know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior. With a stunning repertoire of songs and spirit-led performances, the award-winning Mike McCoy & Voices United is on their way to becoming one of gospel music’s most talked about gospel choirs.

The group’s leader, Mike McCoy, a Washington, D.C. native, was almost born between the pews. Church served as his musical training ground. With a great-great-grandmother who served as his church’s minister of music until the age of 95, McCoy’s destiny for music seemed almost pre-ordained. When only 3 years old, his mother found him banging out tunes on a toy piano. Soon after, he took up the drums because “he liked to play something loud”. He later learned the organ, the trumpet and the bass guitar and was in the concert band and marching band in junior high school. He began to direct while in high school and pursued a music degree at the University of The District of Columbia. His love of music evolved into songwriting after he formed a gospel group. At the time, McCoy didn’t feel that the group was too taken by his songs, but a “chance” meeting with gospel great Thomas Whitfield changed his perspective.

“In the 70s, I formed a group called The Gospel Specials”, says McCoy. “They were a mix of The Winans, Commissioned and a little bit of quartet. During that time, I started writing songs, but I didn’t feel that the members were interested in singing them. I think people thought it was a little too contemporary. But when I had the opportunity to meet Thomas Whitfield, I shared my dilemma with him. He said I reminded him of himself when he was younger and that a lot of people initially didn’t want to sing his music. He said to me, “Just chalk it up to the fact they’re just not ready for your music yet. But keep on writing and the people will catch up to where you are.” McCoy would later find out how prophetic those words were.

In 1994, McCoy started his second group, Voices United. The choir originally began as a 40-member group, but was reorganized in 1998 to a twenty-five member organization consisting of ministers of music, musicians, choir directors, preachers, teachers, evangelists and praise and worship leaders. With a clear understanding of the purpose of praise and worship, Voices United’s mission centers around taking the hymns of the church and the more traditional elements of today’s music and ministering to the hurting and the lost.

Their ministry has not only uplifted souls, but has been recognized for excellence in gospel music. In 2006, Mike McCoy and Voices United won the Gospel Heritage Praise & Worship Choir Competition. The brainchild of entrepreneur Teresa Hairston, the competition was part of the annual gospel music conference held in D.C. Just a few months later, the group won ChristianHangSuite.com’s $5,000 Gospel Slam Finale, also in Washington, D.C. Competing against choirs such as the world-renowned Howard Gospel Choir, Mike McCoy and Voices United prevailed as winners.

They’ve been blessed to back some of the best artists in the genre including Vickie Winans, John P. Kee, Byron Cage, Patrick Lundy & The Ministers Of Music, Stephen Hurd, Shirley Caesar, Richard Smallwood and many others.

Undoubtedly part of the group’s success has been due to their recordings. Ready, the ensemble’s first CD released in 2000, saw McCoy strut his gift of songwriting in many of the project’s tracks including the memorable Psalm 66 and uplifting We’ve Come To Praise Him. Receiving modest airplay, the project got the group’s feet wet for their new project, Continue To Continue. Recorded live at The Master’s Child Church in Capital Heights, Maryland, the project is a stunning mixture of praise and worship, traditional and contemporary gospel music. The new project contains God-centered songs encouraging and uplifting the believer.

The musical endeavor mirrors the goal of the group and its leader. “Our purpose is to share what God has given us with the world,” says the Asst. Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Glenarden, Maryland. “My goal is to make people feel like they’re in church, to provide a church atmosphere. But most of all, it’s about ministry. We like ministering and we like singing. We want to share what God has given to us.”