On Sept. 22, Augusta University’s Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre will kick off its Lyceum Series by welcoming to its stage Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar, a singing group comprised of Augusta natives which is poised to begin its first North American tour.
McLaughlin formed The Sounds of Zamar in 2009 and released its debut album, “Limitless,” in the fall of 2012. The group has now grown to approximately 20 members, many of whom grew up with McLaughlin or sang in the choral ensemble Creative Impressions under his direction.
Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar has a strong following on YouTube and are known for their intricate arrangements of classic gospel hymns and fresh adaptations of contemporary gospel, pop and musical theater hits. Zamar is Hebrew, meaning to sing, praise or make music.
“We gained our acclaim from people hearing arrangements of my songs,” McLaughlin said. “Harmonically there is so much I can do with The Sounds of Zamar blend and nuance of each voice. I am easily inspired, which is a blessing and a curse.”
McLaughlin graduated from John S. Davidson Magnet School and then attended Columbus State University where he was a member of its University Singers and Chorale. McLaughlin received a degree in music performance from Columbus State in 2008. He currently serves as the director of Creative Impressions and is the director of worship and the arts at Tabernacle Baptist Church.
Several members of The Sounds of Zamar are alumni of Augusta University, including 2016 graduate Celena Smith. She sang in Creative Impressions as a teenager and has performed with McLaughlin ever since.
“Music has the ability to speak across all boundaries,” Smith said. “It transcends language, ethnicity and nationality. Music is universal, and I love to be a part of all that. I get something out of it, the audience gets something out of it. Everyone wins.”
Singing at the Maxwell Theatre at the start of its 50th anniversary season is an honor for McLaughlin.
“I get to travel all over the world to perform, and it’s important for me to come home and do it,” McLaughlin said. “I am honored and grateful to be able to perform at home before we take it on the road.”
Smith is also looking forward to returning to her alma mater.
“Maxwell was like my second home when I attended Augusta University,” she said. “Now that I’m a graduate, it’s nostalgic for me to sing there.”
Trey McLaughlin and The Sounds of Zamar concert will be held on Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre located on Augusta University’s Summerville Campus, 2500 Walton Way. Augusta University and East Georgia State College students are admitted free with a valid JagCard, but must order tickets to guarantee seating. Tickets can be purchased at the Maxwell box office or online. For more information, call the box office at 706-667-4100.