By Southwester Staff

Lavenia Nesmith bring Mahalia Jackson to life; Courtesy of Eva Tennant

Later this month, the Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, will return to life through the powerful voice and presence of Lavenia Nesmith at Westminster Church in Southwest. Nesmith will be backed by stellar musicians—Steve Key, piano; Harry Jackson, bass; Terron Whitehead, drums; and Steve Washington, narrator—to help her bring Jackson to the stage. 

Sarah Hearn of Positively Gospel writes: “Nesmith brilliantly transforms herself into Mahalia as she sings a wide variety of songs made both famous and timeless by Jackson. One can’t help but feel that yes, indeed, she is Mahalia for this moment in time and each line uttered, each song sung carries with it the deep reverence Nesmith has for this role.”

Nesmith weaves songs such as “Move On Up A Little Higher,” “Come Sunday,” and “Precious Lord” with stories of Mahalia’s life, from childhood to fame, through a world filled with bigotry and the rise of the movement for civil rights. 

“Westminster is known throughout the DMV and beyond for its outstanding community programs that use the arts to lift the human spirit,” says Rev. Brian Hamilton. “We continue to upgrade our current sound and media equipment while planning for the highest quality and capacity when we complete a new building.” Don’t miss this chance to have your spirit lifted while helping Westminster continue its legacy of high quality community service through the arts.

This venue will be held Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27, at 400 I Street SW, beginning at 4pm. Tickets are $35. Proceeds go to the fund for Westminster Church’s Sound and Media Center planned for the new building.
Find your tickets at, or at any Jazz, Blues or Worship event. Light refreshments will be served.

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