Though the Sweet Heaven Kings employ vocalists who vigorously wail about Jesus, they’re not your standard gospel group. The 16-member ensemble from the United House of Prayer for All People in Anacostia is a shout band, utilizing 12 trombones, a sousaphone, a baritone horn, and percussion, culminating in a swinging New Orleans soul sound. Norvus G. Miller’s nine-year-old group is an offshoot of his late father’s pioneering Kings of Harmony, who made a joyful, religious noise from 1960 to 1993. With gospel’s piercing highs and booming bass lows, expect the Sweet Heaven Kings to belie their name during their annual Christmas show with thundering versions of Yuletide standards that are anything but shopping-mall saccharine.
THE SWEET HEAVEN KINGS PERFORM AT 6 P.M. ON THE KENNEDY CENTER MILLENIUM STAGE, 2700 F ST. NW. FREE. (202) 467-4600.