reba praise

reba praise


Classic and contemporary gospel by this Chicago-based group, blending old and new, from Richard Smallwood to Israel Houghton. Reba Praise features tight harmonies, energetic leads, an impressive band, and a gospel sound that will bless, edify, and inspire.


This gospel quintet based out of Reba Place Church on the north shore of Chicago, brings tight harmonies, an impressive backup band, and a unique sound that appeals to a broad audience. GOSPEL JOURNEY is their promising debut album produced by gospel artist Ray Bady ("Mission K.O.B."). Bady brings his own inimitable style to each song and highlights Reba Praise’s great strengths as a vocal ensemble.

Reba Place is a three-block street in Evanston, Illinois. In 1957 Reba Place Church took root there. Like the proverbial mustard seed, this small plant grew to encompass an intentional Christian community, a housing ministry, a day nursery, and a sister congregation in nearby Chicago. We have learned the truth that we plant and water but “God gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

Over the last five decades Reba Place’s music ministry has also grown beyond its origins in traditional hymnody, through folk and charismatic renewal songs, and Jim Croegaert's "anabaptist-catholic" worship leading. In 1997 Scott Oliver and Helen Hudgens began Reba Praise to lead Sunday morning worship. Almost a decade later Reba Praise blends traditional worship sounds with the best of classic and contemporary gospel.

An Interview with: Reba Praise
By: Dennis M. Kelly (Chicago Music Guide)

1. In 1997, Scott and Helen created Reba Praise, how did the rest of the musicians become part of the band?

God sent us the people we needed. Rob and Mollie Bady heard about Reba Place by listening to an interview on WYLL back in 1996. Ken Stewart grew up here. Anne Gavitt moved here twenty years ago.

2. What was the music ministry like prior to Reba Praise?

Reba Place’s music has always been progressive in comparison with what other churches were doing. We had a praise band in the 1980s, long before that became a standard component. Singer-songwriter Jim Croegaert was our worship leader until the mid-nineties and Jim composed the core of our worship music. Two of his songs are on our Gospel Journey album.

3. What sort of impact has Reba Praise had on the congregation? And the community?

What we are doing at Reba Place is embracing the richness of the black gospel tradition in order to remain faithful to the good news itself. The white church needs the black church in order to be the true church. In the early 1990s Reba Place decided that it was a scandal to be a mostly white congregation in the midst of a racially and culturally mixed neighborhood. We had antiracism workshops, we hired African-American pastoral staff, and we transformed the content and style of our Sunday morning worship. In some ways we just took this church apart and put it back together. It was a difficult transition. Many people left; but by God’s grace we came through to make an important witness in this community. Reba Praise is one fruit of that effort. God’s people are called to be one. The Bible talks about a church drawn from “every tongue, and tribe, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 14:6)

4. How long have you all sang and played your instruments?

Helen learned piano as a child growing up in Brazil and then studied formally at Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. Rob Bady grew up in a musical family that also produced his older brother Percy Bady and his younger brother Ray Bady. (Ray produced Gospel Journey). We all grew up in musical families, come to think of it. It’s been in the fabric of our beings from the beginning. It wasn’t until adulthood, however, that any of us really started using our singing gifts in a public way. Mollie and Rob started singing together as students at North Park University. Ken and Anne have been singing forever.

5. What sort of outreach programs do you have?

Reba Place Church is very committed to and invested in our local community. We began Reba Place Day Nursery over twenty years ago, one of the first preschool daycare nurseries in Evanston. The Reba Place Development Corporation develops and promotes affordable housing in Evanston. Senior Connections is our elder visitation ministry. We began the local homeless shelter Hilda’s Place that his now managed by the Connections for the Homeless.

6. How long did it take you to put "Gospel Journey" together?

Well, it took a lot longer than we wanted it to! We had a lot of people help us out. Church members donated money for production costs. Doug Jones of Columbia College got us studio time and engineered the album for us. The recording happened over a two-week time span in the summer of 2004 but it wasn’t until the next summer of 2005 that the production was completed.

7. What Bible verse inspires each of you the most?

“One thing I ask of the Lord. That I may gaze on His beauty and dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” (Psalms 27:4)

8. Besides your music, what are other areas of interest for you all?

We’re a pretty diverse bunch. Helen teaches music at North Park in Chicago. Rob is former co


GOSPEL JOURNEY (album, released Dec 1, 2005)

Set List



We Magnify Your Name.
You Are Good.
Woke Up This Morning Medley.
There's a Lifting.
Oh It Is Jesus.
When I Think About the Lord.
I Will Sing Praises.

In Christ Alone.
Jesus, Lover of My Soul.
You Gave Us the Hope.
We Come.
Say the Name.
God is Here.
Again I Say Rejoice.