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Where many people see only the things that divide us — race, class, gender, belief — musician Tremayne Blair sees the common spirituality that binds human beings together.
The Galax-born singer and songwriter is pursuing a dream of spreading that message to the masses — one audience or congregation at a time, if necessary.
On Aug. 2, Blair will host a concert at Cliffview Church of God in Galax.
Blair stresses that “all denominations and ethnicities are welcome,” which is the goal of his musical mission. He says his calling is to use music to unite diverse communities though God’s love.
For the concert, he’s assembled the “One Voice Community Choir” from some of the best singers at four local churches, representing a union of races and religious doctrines. He’s been working with the singers and local musicians for several weeks, teaching them his songs.
The “We Are One” concert is based on a song and concept that Blair had been nurturing for years.
“I never understood why someone didn’t like someone else because of the color of their skin, or why there were so many different church denominations, all worshipping the same God,” Blair explains.
The 2001 Galax High School graduate is a junior at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., where he is studying music performance.
Blair has been playing music since he was six years old, when he learned to improvise on the keyboard. The musical prodigy, now 26, has just learned to read music.
He was on his way to becoming a doctor, but something kept pulling him in another direction. He prayed about it, and one night God answered.
Three words kept repeating in his mind, as they had for years — “We Are One.”
Blair compares his music to that of gospel singer Kirk Franklin, an early influence. “The faster songs have a gospel/R&B feel. They’re more youth-oriented. The slower songs are more intimate, with a deep sense of worship to them.”
He starts writing songs with the music, often coming to him as a tune he hums as he walks around Galax.
“Every song I’ve written has been something God has laid on my heart or sent in a dream,” Blair explains. “I wake up sometimes and I can hear the whole song at once and I have to immediately write it down.”
He says he can hear a preacher speak a phrase, and it will inspire a song. That’s what happened with his inspirational song about holding on through hard times, “There’s Good Coming Out of Your Situation.”
Blair said the Galax community’s support of his vision has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Cliffview has been phenomenal. Before I could even sit down with their pastor to talk about the concert, he said ‘You have our blessing.’”
Some musicians from Kansas are coming to perform, as well — drummer Vincent Williams, sax player Charlie Moyer and soloist Dorian Lewis.
Blair plans to perform five of his original songs, and another by Galax songwriter and keyboardist Jeff Kyle, called “There’s No Other God.” Other local musicians performing will include Ken Shields on bass and Alex Cutler on keyboards.
The One Voice Community Choir includes Dondea Young, Joy Tucker, Renalda Kyle, Jasmine McKinney, Angela Jackson, Jennifer Bemis, Dionne Tucker, Alisha Brackens, Daniqua McKinney, Raymond Brown, Chris Saunders, Brad Crouse and Angie Fleming.
Blair said he appreciates the opportunities that he has at Bethany College, but this homecoming has been a welcome change. “I’ve been very proud and honored by the community of Galax. I’m glad to be here. I almost don’t want to leave.”
Blair is still working to land a record deal, but right now he’s content to perform. “I’m just doing God’s work and hoping somebody will hear my music.”
He said he’s having fun with writing and performing. It’s not a job to him, but a mission he feels he was born to undertake.
“I’m not doing this for popularity points or to see how much money I can make,” Blair said. “What would move me the most is if somebody decided to give their heart to the Lord after hearing my music.”
“Only The Beginning” Concert
Aug. 2 — 7 p.m. — Cliffview Church of God
Fries Road, Galax — Admission is free
Doors open at 6 p.m.