Pharrell’s VOICES OF FIRE Affirms God’s Glory, Grace, Transformative Power
By Movieguide® Staff
Editor’s Note: This is a portion of our review for “The Debut Concert” episode of VOICES OF FIRE on Netflix. For the full review, please click here.
VOICES OF FIRE: The Debut Concert is the final episode of Season One of Netflix’s gospel music docuseries that follows talented gospel singers from across the country who’ve banded together to form a gospel choir.
Tensions are high for the Voices of Fire singers in Virginia on the cusp of their big concert debut for not only their community but recording artist Pharrell Williams of the hit song “Happy.” Thankfully, they’ve been training for weeks alongside talented pros and have the confidence that their handwork will pay off thanks to their choir director, Bishop Ezekiel Williams, the uncle of Pharrell.
The singers and soloists get together to let out their nerves before the concert. They warm up vocally, practice their lyrics and stress that God will see them through, as He has done time and time again in their lives.
Marcus Richardson gets up in front of the staggering crowd at the Chrysler Hall concert hall to begin the show. He shares his transformative testimony about how after an incident with alcohol abuse, he found rest in God’s saving grace and changed his life for the better, all before he shows off his vocals for the crowd. Next, J.D. Parker, another choir member, shares his story. He and a group of friends had it made in the 1990s when they worked with bigtime artists. However, one day, it all came to a halt, and J.D. had to return home and find a blue-collar job to make ends meet.
These are just a few of the powerful stories that make up the grander story of the choir, but will their faith and practice pay off the way they expect?
“The Debut Concert,” the final episode of Season One of VOICES OF FIRE, is structured well. Talking head interviews fit beautifully with documentary footage and help unpack the action on screen for viewers. There’s one stylistic bird’s eye view shot and a great attention to the raw emotions of the characters.
“The Debut Concert” has a strong Christian, biblical worldview with many positive affirmations of God’s glory, grace and transformative power. It has several instances where characters thank God and stress His grace. The episode also includes positive references to Bible passages such as Philippians 4:6 and inspiring Gospel music performed with vigor. A father mentions he wants his young daughter to be proud of his work and life and other characters greet their families with joy and excitement after they perform for their local community. There’s one comment about “the stars” aligning but it’s mentioned as a validation of God’s plan for the choir to do mighty things in His name. VOICES OF FIRE: The Debut Concert is inspiring television viewing for families.