‘Hallelujah’ at Stonecrest Library

Erica Relaford | 6/20/2014, 6 a.m.

“Hallelujah: In That Great Gettin’ Up Mornin’,” a musical about the hardships faced by African-Americans during slavery, will be showcased at the Stonecrest Library in Lithonia on June 27.

A cast of 40 from the Lou Walker Senior Center Performing Arts Group will sing and dance in the two-hour production. It begins at 2 p.m.

Gwendolyn Thomas, the writer, director and choreographer, says the four-act musical was first written for a Black History Month performance in 2003 and they perform it all the time.

“It’s very popular,” she said. “Whenever we perform it, others request it.”

At the Stonecrest Library, they will perform the first two acts.

The multi-talented Thomas, who plays the piano, organ and violin, said the musical was inspired by her grandfather, Richard Anderson, who was born a slave.

“He lived to be 109 years old,” she said.

She rearranged all the music for the production, her seventh at the center since she became a member in October 2010 after relocating from Los Angeles to be with her daughter and two grandchildren.

By December 2010, Thomas, who retired from a career as a paralegal, had formed the Lou Walker Performing Arts Group and was on her first production.

“I have done a lot of musicals and cantata all my life,” she said, adding that she has played in church orchestras and produced plays as a hobby.

Now a dedicated Lou Walker volunteer, she says “Hallelujah” enlightens the community about the importance of black history and culture and about the Performing Arts Group whose members are 55 to 90.

The Stonecrest Library is at 3123 Klondike Road. For more information, call 770-482-3828.