By Maleesa Johnson
Alabanza DC, a praise and worship team from Cuba, returns to Baylor with bongos and conga drums, adding a Caribbean flair to traditional praise and worship.
Last time they were here, Alabanza DC performed at First Baptist Church of Woodway. This time, the group will be performing in a free concert at St. John Missionary Baptist Church at 301 Tyler St. at 7 p.m. Thursday.
At Chapel, the group will perform with Carlos Colón, coordinator of worship initiatives with Baylor Spiritual Life at 9:05 a.m., 10:10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. in Waco Hall.
The group is from First Baptist Church, Santa Clara, Cuba. They first visited Baylor in 2001 and have since visited again in 2006. Dr. L.M. Dyson, former Baylor professor, has had frequent interaction with the group because he visits Cuba often, both with his wife and with groups from Baylor.
“In January of 2010, we took the Baylor baseball team to Havana,” Dyson said. “The group did a concert the night we had a barbeque hosted by the baseball team.”
Dyson has already been to Cuba three times this year and stays in contact with the members of Alabanza DC.
Alabanza DC goes on tours in Cuba, Central America and the United States. Its songs feature traditional hymns, but Dyson said its real musical forte is praise and worship. It also performs contemporary Cuban praise songs written by members of Alabanza DC and other Cuban songwriters.
“It’s good music and you don’t see many musical groups from Cuba in Waco, Texas,” Dyson said.
The group has nine music members and one director/manager. However, not all nine of the music members have been to Baylor before. The group is complete for the first time in the U.S. this trip.
“There is a bit of a difference,” Dyson said. “Interestingly, there are two members here this time that tried to come before on the previous concert tour and they were not able to obtain visas, but this time they were able to.”
On Thursday, Alabanza DC will travel to Fort Worth to perform at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s chapel service.