Choir spreads GSU spirit

The Grambling State University tour choir traveled to Washington recently to sing praises and represent GSU in the D.C. metro area. The tour consisted of performances held twice each day at area churches, Army communities and even a middle school in Maryland.

The first performance was held at the Fort Myer Military Community in Fort Myer, Va. They celebrated Black history with songs of some of the struggles that Blacks faced, along with songs of empowerment.

Acts included a rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” sung by Brittany McCray, “What’s “Going On” by Michael Jackson, a piano solo by Evan Washington, and Sam Cooke’s “Change Gone Come” sung by Antoine Anderson.

One of the next performances was held at an Army Test and Evaluation Command Center. The performance was recorded via satellite so troops in Iraq would have the opportunity to join in on the program.

Former president of GSU Leonard L. Haynes III was in attendance. Haynes is the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. “The trip was great being that it was my first time going to the D.C. area, it was a great experience that I will cherish.”

“The University is mainly known for the band and the football team, so it would be nice to say that I was apart of making Grambling State known for its concert choir,” said Jairous Hoof of Grambling, a freshman political science major.

Later in the week the choir had time for sightseeing, visiting the nation’s Capitol, the Washington Monument and Obama’s House. That weekend followed a forum, college fair and performance by Grambling at Reid Temple AME Church in Glendale, Md.

The event became an informative treat, covering steps to making education a top priority in the black community, while honoring HBCUs, and how to keep their presence alive. Among the panelists were President Thelma B. Thompson of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and sophomore Monique Williams, an English major from Monroe.

“The choir tour to D.C. exceeded my expectations,” said Jarell Miller of Brooklyn, N.Y., a vocal education major. “At first I thought that it would be boring, but I had fun. It was an experience that I would like to share again with my fellow choir members.”

The choir ended its tour at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Laurel, Md.

“I am very proud of the choir,” said director of choral activities Edryn J. Coleman. “We did a great job in the D.C. metro area.”

Administrative assistant Linda Stringfellow went along as a chaperone, as did Dr. Karl Rubrecht as piano accompanist.

The choir, which has been singing since 1947, also recently traveled to Trinidad and Port of Spain in the West Indies.

The choir’s two last performances of the semester will be at a convocation at the end of the month and its annual participation in the graduation in May. The choir plans to continue the tradition of touring every year.