About Our Music
“Those who sing,” said St. Augustine, “pray twice.” The ancient, African Bishop of Hippo meant that singing adds to our praise and worship of God – that our voices are gifts, with which we can make music to the Lord.
Sung hymns and anthems express the joys and depths of the heart, the happiness and the consolation resulting from one who has encountered Jesus Christ and experienced his love. Music reminds us of the choirs of heaven, with whom we are called to praise God eternally.
At St. Paul’s, we worship with the music of many cultures and traditions. You will hear world-class musicians singing and playing the finest of Gospel, Classical, and World music – not because we enjoy performing in church, but because we love to praise God with voice and song! We love music so much, that our singing spills over into community concerts both sacred and secular. Join us in song on Sundays and let your spirit soar!
Shango-Jamal Lewis, baritone, has performed all over the world singing musical genres from Gospel, Jazz, Pop, Musical Theater, Classical, and more. He is a Vocal Arts alumnus of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), and Morgan State University. Shango-Jamal has performed with the Philadelphia, Detroit, and Boston Symphony Orchestras. He presently divides his regular music ministry between St. Paul’s Elkins Park and Zion Baptist Church of Philadelphia. He counts directing and arranging among his many musical talents and his first love is teaching the skills and disciplines of the performing arts to young people. His most vital ministry for the Lord is working with young people from difficult social and economic circumstances.
Shango-Jamal is a regular Sunday singer at St. Paul’s, and presently teaches at the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. He continues to perform in sacred music concerts in churches and concert halls throughout the greater Philadelphia region.
Tessika McClendon, soprano, is an acclaimed coloratura from Jackson, MS. A frequent recitalist and soloist, Ms. McClendon has been a guest with the MS Opera (Noye’s Fludde, La bohème, Die Fledermaus, Renée Fleming – Voice of the Century), The MS Chorus (Brahms’ Requiem), St. Philip’s Great 50 Days Concert Series, and Opera Festival di Roma, Rome, Italy (Suor Angelica, Cosí fan tutte). Ms. McClendon’s repertoire includes the heroines of Verdi, Mozart, and Handel; the oratorios of Bach, Fauré, and Brahms; and classics from the American concert stage, screen, and musical theatre. Ms. McClendon graduated in 2003, cum laude, from the Historically Black College & University, Tougaloo College with a BA in Music with an emphasis in vocal performance. She received her Master of Music in voice from The Boston Conservatory in 2005. Tessika has been the winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award (NAATSA) competition for the state of Mississippi multiple times, and third place winner for the Southeast Regional in 2005.
Ms. McClendon has served as voice faculty at Tougaloo College and is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity. She frequently appears with Mississippi ensembles including The Mississippi Chorus, The Mississippi Opera, Opera South, and has served as soprano soloist at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Jackson. She is currently finishing her Professional Studies Certificate in vocal performance at Temple University studying with Benita Valente.