Academics / Departments & Programs / Music / Ensembles / Gospel Choir
The Calvin University Gospel Choir is not just a choir—it’s a worship experience.
The Calvin Gospel Choir has been labeled as the most diverse musical ensemble on campus. It is an enthusiastic, engaging, upbeat, and inspirational ensemble comprised of persons from various locations, races, and creeds. The Gospel Choir offers musically talented individuals the opportunity to form an encouraging community reflective of the diverse interests and ethnicities within the school community.
The choir’s mission is to proclaim the word of God and hope in song, uniting believers for this common purpose. While fulfilling this mission, the choir represents Calvin and its varied worship styles. The repertoire consists of spirituals, African music, anthems, contemporary, jazz, and African American gospel music. The Gospel Choir also provides a forum in which gospel singers and musicians are able to transcend cultural differences. Along with American English, the choir sings in Spanish, Korean, and African languages. This choral ensemble draws from diverse academic programs and musical skills. Calvin's Gospel Choir is open to all students, staff, faculty, and alumni of Calvin.
Gospel Choir is a vehicle for ministry, which educates and supports diversity outreach and minority recruiting efforts. It adheres to the From Every Nation document set forth by the Dean of Multicultural Affairs and the Multicultural Academic Committee at Calvin. Embracing, encouraging, and acknowledging the rich culture of the African American heritage through various genres and styles perpetuates growth and continued success of the choir’s mission.
Gospel Choir rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30–6:45 p.m.
”Our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” —2 Corinthians 4:7
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Explore Gospel Choir
Calvin's Gospel Choir is an ensemble of more than 100 vocalists drawn from diverse academic programs. Along with participating in events on campus, Gospel Choir travels off campus each semester and has participated in community events such as “Gospel Night at the Symphony” as well as enriching church worship services.
Gospel Choir had its beginnings in the 1980s as a student-lead organization under the direction of Scott Davis. Later directors included Debra Perry and Dorcas Jones. The choir sometimes exceeded 150 students, who rehearsed once or twice a week and were required to attend services at churches with gospel choirs at least twice a semester (and turn in church bulletins to prove attendance). The choir toured during interim, held a concert each semester, annually hosted the inter-collegiate Gospelfest, and sang at five or more churches each semester.
Dr. Charsie Sawyer directed the Gospel Choir from 1996 to 2016. Under her leadership, the Gospel Choir toured in Ghana in 2003, working closely with the University of Ghana while there. The Gospel Choir was featured in the spring 2004 issue of The Light Walk Christian Magazine in an article highlighting college gospel choirs. In 2013, Gospel Choir traveled to Guatemala.
Professor Nate Glasper, Jr. directs the Gospel Choir and endeavors to present the glory and word of God through traditional spirituals, African music, and contemporary gospel music.
Auditions will be the first week of school for singers and musicians. A sign-up sheet with time slots for auditions will be posted outside of CFAC 179, where the auditions will be held.
Who should audition?
Gospel Choir is open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have a desire and the ability to sing gospel music. We ask that singers have at least one year of gospel, jazz, or popular music experience and can make a one-year commitment to the group.
How do I plan for the audition?
Singers, prepare a gospel song, spiritual, or hymn. A pop or jazz song is also acceptable to demonstrate the quality of your voice. This should be a song that you know well and feel comfortable with. You may sing a cappella or with your own sheet music—accompaniment will be provided. If you prefer to sing with an accompaniment track, you may do that also.
Please contact the conductor to set up an audition time. You will be given music and/or a recording prior to the audition to present during the audition. A one-year commitment to the choir is required as well as preparation for rehearsals.
Skill Requirements (not exclusive)
- Professional Competence
- Music Reading
- Gospel Style
Please visit our Ensemble Tours webpage for upcoming ensemble tours.
Please call the Calvin Campus Store at 1-800-748-0122 for available ensemble recordings.
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