Pastor France Davis has spent 40 years in service to the community and god at the helm of Calvary Baptist Church. And he is backed by the nationally-recognized gospel force of nature, the Inspirational Choir.
When Pastor Davis addresses his congregation, he speaks with fervency upon his breathe, which can quickly turn to eyes full of grace. He's energetic and compassionate, yet speaks with conviction and a certain loving sternness when preaching the good word. Pastor Davis has a wide range of influence within the community that's not merely limited to Calvary Baptist. An acclaimed educator outside of the church, he has several scholarships named in his honor, and he has received numerous awards and recognitions both locally and nationally.
The Inspirational Choir performs on the first and fourth Sundays of the month at Calvary Baptist Church. During the choir processional (pictured above), the members soulfully, ecstatically sing hymnals as they slowly make their way down the center aisle. A five-piece band plays and the congregation stands, sways, dances and sings as the intro works up a feeling of beatitude before Pastor Davis' sermon.
Even if you're not religious, the sheer talent, power and feeling that the choir packs into its songs is awe-inspiring. After the choir takes the pulpit, there are moments when tissues are passed out to the congregation, for it is such a mighty and moving musical jubilation.
The Calvary Baptist music program consists of five different choirs and the numerous musicians who accompany them. Brian Heslep is Minister of Music, while Anthony Bennett is the director of the Inspirational Choir.
The Inspirational Choir has performed at some of the biggest Utah events, including the 2002 Winter Olympics, Sundance Movie Festival and the Stadium of Fire. The choir has even landed in a Showtime movie and has done background work for artists such as Christina Aguilera and Gladys Knight.
Calvary Baptist Church began a countdown of 40 days for 40 years honoring Pastor Davis and his wife on Wednesday, March 19. A special banquet honoring them will be held at the Rice-Eccles Stadium Tower on April 25, and the 40 days will culminate with an event held at Calvary on Sunday, April 27 at 3:30 p.m.
More information about Pastor Davis and the Inspirational Choir can be found at www.CalvarySLC.com.
Photographer and award-winning journalist Austen Diamond specializes in creative portraiture, commercial photography and editorial photojournalism. For booking inquiries and to view his portfolio, go to www.AustenDiamond.com.