2011-04-08 / Arts & Entertainment

USC Gospel Choir presents its debut performance

Contributed by USC

The University of South Carolina announces the debut performance of the University Gospel Choir. Under the direction of Dr. Carl R. Wells, the Gospel Choir will present music that has come out of the African–American worship tradition Friday, April 15, at 7: 30 p. m., at the Greene Street United Methodist Church, located on the corner of Greene and Assembly Streets.

In its first semester of existence, the group affords University of South Carolina students the opportunity to earn an hour of elective credit while exploring the diverse history, soul, and sounds of gospel music. The inaugural offering of the course enrolled 30 students.

The class emphasizes gospel as a means of practicing vocal expression but also helps students understand the historical and sociological significance in African–American culture, its connection to other forms of music, and its functional purpose.

“Af r ican– Amer ican music was rarely art for the sake of art,” Wells said. “If you think about slaves in the field, they weren’t just singing, they were singing to make the day go better, for survival. It becomes a way of helping voice what people are experiencing, but it also connects them to a God who helps them in the midst of their struggles. Also, unlike other forms of music, African–American music is a dialogue, not a monologue; the performer sings, but there’s an element of participation from the audience.”

The concert is free and open to the public.

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