Recently, Grambling’s Strong Tower Music Group hosted its Inaugural North Louisiana Gospel Choir Concert at Lewis Temple Baptist Church in Grambling. Southern University Performing Arts Gospel Choir (of Shreveport), Louisiana Tech University Gospel Choir, Entourage Performing Arts Group, and Unity Chorale were the other gospel choirs that performed.
Dr. Frederick Pinkney, the director of Strong Tower said that he decided to host this event to celebrate and revitalize the college gospel choir.
“I hoped to accomplish a deeper fellowship between the universities in north Louisiana and also provide a platform for college choirs to be trained in their singing ministry and spiritual walk,” he said.
“All of the directors present are musically trained, and they train their choirs in technique, diction, presentation, and style,” said Pinkney.
Strong Tower was the first group to perform. They sang “Never Would Have Made It,” led by Cameron Johnson, “I Will Bless the Lord” and “Deep Down in My Heart,” led by Marcus Gipson.
Southern University’s gospel choir performed next. They performed “It Is Well” and “Be Strong.” GSU alumna Sonya Hester is the director.
Louisiana Tech’s choir, performed “Praise Offering,” a medley arranged by director Melonnie Honore and “Everybody Clap Your Hands.”
Entourage, founded in the spring of 2001 on the campus of GSU by Chad Harry, performed next. They are under the direction of Omar Jones.
Unity Chorale, directed by Jerry Maiden, performed last. This group consists of graduates who are former members of college gospel choirs. They performed “Sweet Holy Spirit,” “Great Praise” and “Oh, the Blood,” which brought the crowd to its feet.
The crowd got into the performances. Glythenia Mills of Aracdia said that she enjoyed the way that everybody was into what they were doing. Aracadian, Donna Boston, said, “I enjoyed worshipping. I was inspired.”
Ivy Woodard-Latin, the mother of Brent, a member of Strong Tower, said she liked the spirit in which the program was done. “I enjoyed all of the choirs, but I really enjoyed the performance of “The Blood.” It reaches you in places because if it had not been for the blood, oh where, oh where, would I be?”
Latin is a minister of music at Canaan Baptist Church in Shreveport. She is a 1989 graduate of GSU with a degree in mass communication.
Pinkney said, “I was very satisfied with the program. I only had three weeks to plan this. All of the choirs were great. I think the students got a chance to see students from other schools doing the same things that they do. They got a chance to see that they can still be a part of a gospel choir after they graduate.”
Strong Tower was founded on January 24, 1995, on the campus of GSU. Its mission is to provide college students with a wholesome, nourishing Christian environment and refuge. Pinkney said that Strong Tower is the first self-supported Christian organization in the state to award students scholarships to sing gospel music.