Gospel concert celebrates the message of Black History Month


Arnold Fernandes

Gospel choir sings “Oh Happy Day” alongside soloists Felicia Bissent and Tin Bui.

The Contemporary Gospel Choir performed a concert titled “Great Day!” in commemoration of Black History Month on Thursday night at the Recital Hall.

The joyful gospel concert began with an opening statement by the choir’s director, Omari Tau, and was followed by the singing of “Great Day.”

“What we hope to do is to continue to build the Black History Month program so that we do a wider range of stuff,” said Tau. “We had a good time accomplishing all of this music in such a short period of time.”

A spoken-word artist was scheduled to speak during the concert, but due to illness, they cancelled.

Instead, members of the choir read statements by influential figures such as Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman and Alice Walker after each song.

The choir asked the audience to sing along to a compilation of freedom songs which included “This Little Light of Mine” and “We Shall Overcome.”

Before singing the last song, vocalist Corinthia Duke, read “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.

The last song, “Oh Happy Day,” was sung by vocalists Felicia Bissent and Tin Bui.

Duke said it was a wonderful idea to celebrate African American culture through music.

“It’s important that we acknowledge people who made contributions to the nation,” Duke said.

Destiny Whalen, a 20-year-old psychology major, said she enjoyed the concert.

“It was great, I wanted to cry sometimes,” said Whalen. “If music can’t bring people together, then what will?”

Anaiah Morris, a 19-year-old music major, said she thought it was great to celebrate Black History Month with music.

“I wish there was more people of course, to get the word out because like, imagine the whole house full and everybody singing,” Morris said.

Tau said that this year they expanded their annual Black History Month program by adding dancing and spoken word.

“We had a lot of fun, that’s for sure, and even though we didn’t have our spoken word artist, I thought that it was great to still be able to pull together some statements and to get a little flavor,” Tau said.