A Traditional Message of Deliverance
Marquinn Middleton and The Miracle Chorale
Michael McGee | 8/9/2013, 6:54 a.m.
The Dallas Examiner
“Marquinn Middleton and his choir are the next generation Kirk Franklin and the Family but on steroids,” said M. Legend Brown, a Dallas screenwriter and director. “Marquinn is unique, is fresh, and has you holding your breath until the end.”
Marquinn Middleton and The Miracle Chorale is a Dallas-based gospel group that has just recently began to catch people’s attention, but its history actually began a few generations ago.
Raised by his grandparents, Middleton, the founder and choir director, credits his personal musical skills to his roots. He comes from a family of singers. One in particular, a Tony award-winner, has seen her share of fame.
“Jennifer Holliday, that’s a cousin of mine,” he said. “She has taught me so much with how to command the stage … watching her, watching my grandmother – who is a wonderful gospel singer in her own way.”
He grew up in a household that was, as he put it, “just filled with singing.” He rounded out his musical background with classical music and a capella choir during his school days in Garland.
“I have been doing choirs since I was really little. Probably about 9 years old,” he stated.
From that upbringing, Middleton has led some heavyweight choir talent. In the past he has had the opportunity to direct the DFW Mass Choir, the Gospel Tabernacle Choir, and takes his 68-member Miracle Chorale to shows across the United States.
“I have done quite a bit for the age of 42,” he said with a laugh. “God has really opened up some tremendous doors for us.”
At times the group performs in small settings with about 10 singers; other occasions it found itself singing in a church or coliseum with the full chorale.
“The Bible does tell us to take our ministry outside of the church, outside of the four walls,” he said as he estimated that the choir has been together about 13 months. “It’s kind of shocking to some people,” he mentioned as he discussed the size and popularity of the group.
Local gospel singer Crystal Cameron heard the choir for the first time at the monthly First Sunday show held at the Center City Bar and Grill in Arlington and said she was blown away by the group.
“[They are] a very powerful choir, and made the listeners stand to their feet,” she said. “I would give them two thumbs up, and three, if I had a third.”
The chorale also competed for Best Choir last year during the How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration, earning a standing ovation.
“It’s possible that we’re going to be doing that again this coming year,” the director said.
In the meantime, the choir has been nominated for Choir of the Year, Community Choir of the Year and Best Performance by a Choir/Director for the Rhythm of Gospel Awards for Contemporary. Middleton has also been nominated for a Choir Director of the Year.
Even with such enthusiasm behind the group, Middleton fears that community choirs may be a fading part of the Black Southern church experience.
“You know, people don’t really do community choirs anymore,” he said. “It’s just a gathering of choirs, a gathering of people in the Metroplex.”
Regardless of the fame the choir gains or the changes in Black church-traditions, the message the choir tries to convey through their collective voice, Middleton said, is one of deliverance.
“So many people are going through so much, you know,” he said as he paused to think on recent events. “Just the opportunity for us to just minister in song and actually see people get healed, and delivered …”
Middleton said that he and his singers are firmly committed to their musical mission.
“Just to make sure that we keep on mentioning the name Jesus. We do not want to get away from that,” he said. “We do not want to get away from what He is doing in His season, and even in this hour.”