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Youth Praising God choir gives uplifting performance at Gurnee Mills

| Frank Abderholden/Sun-Times Media

| Frank Abderholden/Sun-Times Media

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The members

The Youth Praising God choir consists of George Woods, 21, of Waukegan; Krystle Sicard, 28, of Gurnee; Jocelyn Elmore, 31, a servicemember from St. Louis, Mo.; Kyasia Muhammad, 18, of Kenosha, Wis.; Aleshia Wilson, 18, of Waukegan; Zor’nelle Duffie, 8, of Beach Park; Za’torie Duffie, 14, of Beach Park; Andrew Markham, 17, of North Chicago; Kierra Coleman, 14, of Kenosha, Wis.; Clara Freeman, 15, of Great Lakes; Rickena Markham, 29, of Chicago; Zymphony Duffie, 2, of Beach Park; Zorena Duffie, 30, of Beach Park; DeMarcus May, 27, of Zion; Khaila Wilcoxon, 17, of Kenosha, Wis.; and Gloria Wilson, 17, of Waukegan.

The band includes Davarrius Wilson, 21, of Waukegan; Torrence Markham, 21, of North Chicago; and James Markham, 20, of North Chicago.

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Updated: February 23, 2014 4:42AM

“Nothing like Gospel music,” said Ruthy Ramos, who stopped to listen and record on her phone the Minister Tranelle Duffie and Youth Praising God choir singing “How Excellent.” near the food court in Gurnee Mills mall Monday evening.

The 38-year-old Milwaukee, Wis., resident stopped in her tracks when she came upon the group, which included a bass player, drummer and keyboardist. “I love choirs. I used to direct them,” she said, “‘How Excellent’ is my favorite song.”

“I came to pick up my boys, but anything with a Gospel choir, I love it. I sing myself,” she said while recording the performance.

Youth Praising God was celebrating its one-year anniversary, said Duffie, and is made up of members from North Chicago’s First Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, Greater St. James Temple Church of God in Christ, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Waukegan’s Greater Faith Baptist Church, Shalem Seventh Day Adventist Church, and Greater St. James Temple Church of God in Christ.

The members range in age from 8 to 30 and they hail from Gurnee, Waukegan, North Chicago, Beach Park, Great Lakes, Zion, Chicago, and Kenosha, Wis. Many are also part of their home church’s choirs.

Minister Duffie can play several instruments, but prefers the organ and keyboard. He has played the organ for First Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church for many years and is now currently the Minister of Music for all the choirs at First Corinthian.

Duffie said he held auditions for the choir and started it to give young people something positive to do.

“There’s a lot of time they are looking for something to do and they have this ability,” he said.

Donna Dallas, manager of the group, who also works for the village of Gurnee, heard about the mall’s Holiday Season Series and asked if they would want a Gospel choir to perform.

“This was a first for the mall,” she said, “They have a lot of nice programs at the mall.”

Gloria Wilson, 17, of Waukegan said she gets nervous before singing, but “it’s administering to them (the crowd), that Jesus died for our sins,” she said. “It’s great when everyone is singing and sharing their voices,” said Wilson.

Andrew Markham, 17, of North Chicago feels very comfortable on the stage.

“I’ve been singing pretty much my whole life,” he said.

The crowd of about 100 people, that included a host of friends and family, also made shoppers stop to listen during the hour-long performance.

Dallas said the group is available for programs and anyone who wants more information can call (847) 360-9338.

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