11:47 p.m. on New Year's Eve at Concord Church In Redbird.
Welcome to Snapshot, a new feature here on Central Track that aims to slow things down a bit by taking the time to appreciate and examine the overlooked slices of life that occur all around us. Through exploring an intersection, watching a neighborhood, observing a moment or taking a peek behind an oft-forgotten corner, this photo series aims to capture the sights and sounds of Dallas and the surrounding areas — things that most people might zip right past without a second glance. Here, we demand a deeper look.
11:47 p.m. on New Year's Eve at Concord Church In Redbird. It's New Year's Eve, and some 3,000 or so congregants fill up the main sanctuary of Concord Church in the Redbird area of South of Oak Cliff. Services started late on this night — at 10 o'clock — but the room is just a hair shy of full capacity. And, despite it being a Thursday, everyone's wearing their Sunday best.
At the front of the room, a showcase worth getting dressed up for takes place. There are performances aplenty: In addition to songs from the house band and choir, there's also a set from rapper T Ned at one point, plus a showcase from some mimes during another. There are even some Dr. Phil-like testimonials shared from a living room-like set on the newly upgraded stage. All of it comes back to a single message — leaving the negative behind as we enter into the new year.
It's a message that hits home: When not clutching the Bible with one hand and swinging the other in the air while unabashedly belting out their prayers through song, attendees sit rapt by the happenings onstage, voicing audibly their agreement with the pastor when his delivery merits it.
At other points there are tears — some of sadness, some of joy. Regardless, there's no judgment. On this night at least, the intimacy of it all makes the large auditorium of this still-new and growing church feel rather small. That families represent the bulk of attendees helps; so too does the fact that there's a real familiarity among the congregants.
Hands are held. Children, losing the battle of staying up past their bedtime, nap on their neighbors' shoulders. Some people even sneak away fro time to time to share a private moment or two.
There were plenty of events taking place across Dallas on New Year's Eve. But few, I imagine, were this celebratory.