A Gospel Symphony Celebration with Donald Lawrence
Donald Lawrence wears many musical hats, including songwriter, producer, and recording artist. Over a 30-year career, the multiple Grammy and Stellar Award winner has collaborated with marquee names in the Gospel, R&B, Hip Hop, Pops, and Broadway worlds. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind performance with the BPO and the voices of the Buffalo United Community Choir under the baton of the equally accomplished composer, orchestrator, and educator, Dr. Henry Panion III.
Henry Panion III, conductor
Donald Lawrence, vocals
Buffalo United Community Choir
Ride on King Jesus
Presence of the Lord
The Blessing of Abraham
Bless Me (The Prayer of Jabez)
Back II Eden
Glory from Selma
In the Sanctuary
Procession of the Levites
Anthem of Praise
Jehovah Sabaoth (God of Angel Armies)
The Best is Yet to Come
About Donald Lawrence
Songwriter. Producer. Composer. Music/choir director. Recording artist. Those words capture the multifaceted essence of Donald Lawrence. The guiding force behind such No. 1 hits as “Encourage Yourself,” “Back II Eden,” and “The Blessing of Abraham,” Lawrence has also been the producing force behind No. 1 songs like “Blessed and Highly Favored” by the Clark Sisters and “Lift Him Up,” “Souled Out,” and “Every Praise” by Bishop Hezekiah Walker.
Donald Lawrence is one of the most influential figures in modern gospel music, with an impressive career in the gospel industry that has spanned more than 25 years. Over the course of that time, Lawrence resurrected and led the Tri-City singers, who were noted as one of the best choirs in the world, and found much individual success as a solo artist with multiple #1 Billboard hits and albums. He has also worked on numerous films and television programs, providing his musical services.
On top of over 30 Stellar Award wins and 4 Dove Award wins, Lawrence has been nominated for 18 Grammy awards over the course of his career, including a Grammy win in 2008. Lawrence has also served as the face of Verizon’s How Sweet The Sound national tour, the Musical Director and headlining act for the McDonald’s Inspirational Gospel Tour, and the Music Supervisor for BeBe Winan’s hit theatrical production, Born For This.
In 2019, Donald and The Tri-City Singers released their 25-year anniversary project, Goshen. The highly anticipated album was met with much praise and acclaim. It earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Gospel Album,” and the album’s hit single, “Deliver Me. This Is My Exodus,” which went to #1 on the Billboard charts, was also named Billboard’s “most played Gospel song of 2019.” Furthermore, Goshen won 5 Stellar Awards, including the Song of the Year award for “Deliver Me. This Is My Exodus.”
Lawrence has stayed busy since the release of Goshen. In the past few years he has worked on a song with the Hamilton cast that featured former President Barack Obama and also performed for President Joe Biden’s Inaugural Prayer Breakfast, to name just a few of many projects.
Lawrence has also helped relaunch the How Sweet The Sound tour, and has filled his mentor’s shoes by taking over the Music & Arts charitable organization started by the late Edwin Hawkins. He recently relaunched this organization with an amazing global conference in London, and looks forward to the future of this organization.
Lawrence continues to produce new music, like his highly anticipated tribute project to Twinkie Clark, Power-Reimagined. “It’s said that the music you do is where you’ve lived,” says Lawrence of his creative journey. “What I do isn’t contrived. I don’t think in terms of genre or religious perspective. It comes from being honest. I just honor the gift and purpose I was given to touch the world and inspire. And people have paid attention to that.”
About Henry Panion III
Henry Panion III, PhD, holds the distinguished titles of University Professor and Director of Music Technology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He holds degrees in music education and music theory from Alabama A&M University and Ohio State University, respectively. Dr. Panion is most known for his work as conductor and arranger for pop icon Stevie Wonder, an association that spans over the past 30 years. Other artists for whom Dr. Panion has had the opportunity to conduct and/or arrange include Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Clark Sisters, India Arie, The Winans, Yolanda Adams, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, Kirk Franklin, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Lionel Richie, ALABAMA, Kelly Price, Robin Thicke, LeAnn Rimes, Bootsy Collins, and American Idol winners Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, and Ruben Studdard.
Dr. Panion has worked with more that 50 orchestras across the globe, including the Royal Philharmonic (England), the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra (Russia), the Orchestre de Paris (France), the Melbourne Symphony (Australia), the Rio de Janeiro Philharmonic (Brazil), the Raanana Philharmonic (Israel), the Gothenburg Symphony (Sweden), the Namibian National Symphony Orchestra (South Africa) and the Tokyo Philharmonic (Japan), and in this country prominent orchestras such as those in Nashville, Cleveland, Atlanta, Honolulu, Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, D.C., and his home state of Alabama. During the 50th Anniversary of Selma’s Bloody Sunday in 2015, Dr. Panion served as Artistic Producer & Conductor for the BET/Centric TV special. In 2019 he concluded the city of Birmingham’s three-year commemoration of the state of Alabama’s Bicentennial, in which he served as composer, advisor, and artistic director. The 2020 PBS concert-documentary Dreams of Hope: Birmingham’s Historic 16th Street Baptist Church Welcomes Violins of Hope was produced by Dr. Panion and has been broadcast over 1000 times since its release, received 13 Telly Awards, and has been featured in prestigious film festivals domestically and abroad in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Jerusalem, and Sydney. In 2021, Dreams of Hope picked up 2 Emmy awards for Music Composition and Audio Post-Production.
As a producer, composer, arranger, and orchestrator, Dr. Panion’s work has produced three Grammy Awards and a host of other national music awards and nominations. From 1994 to 2000, Dr. Panion served as chair of UAB’s Department of Music. Other honors include a 1995 Distinguished Alumni Award from Alabama A&M University, a similar award from Ohio State University in 1996, the 1996 Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Award for Scholarly Distinction, the 2009 Congressional Black Caucus’ Civic and Cultural Advancement Award, and an appointment as Cultural Ambassador for the City of Birmingham in 2009. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Alabama Arts Hall of Fame in 2019. Dr. Panion is presently serving a Governor’s appointment as Chair of the Alabama State Council on the Arts and has recently been appointed to the Board of Governors of the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He most recently served as Artistic & Creative Director and Composer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2022 World Games, and producer of the World Games’ new theme song, “Hope of Alabama,” featuring an all-star cast of singers and receiving an unprecedented 19 Telly Awards and a 2023 Emmy nomination for musical composition and arranging. In 2023, Dr. Panion was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
About the Buffalo United Community Choir
The Buffalo United Community Choir (BUCC) was formed in January of 2023, with a goal of unifying the Buffalo-Niagara region by gathering voices from across the community to sing and work together. This 100-plus voice choir represents the very best of Buffalo, with representatives from 42 local churches and organizations including First Shiloh, First Calvary, St. Luke AME and Mt. Olive Baptist Churches, St. Joseph University Parish, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, the Community Music School, and many more.
The group is led by three exceptional music directors: Ella E. Robinson, Karen Saxon, and George Brown, with assistance from Adam Luebke and Phillip McMullen of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. The BUCC debuted in February for Buffalo United for Black History at First Shiloh Baptist Church, performed at the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Pavilion as part of the May 14th Remembrance event, and sang with the BPO in the 2023 Concert for Unity. The BUCC’s motto is, “We lift our voices in song as ONE community.”