Voices of Testimony encourages diversity through gospel music

Megan Ferguson

HED: VOT encourages diversity through gospel music 

Voices of Testimony, a Christian gospel choir group, believes that bringing diversity to Kent State’s campus is a core part of what they do.

“It is not just a black choir singing black music,” said Jonathan Turner, director VOT.

Turner said he exposes the members to a variety of cultures and languages through music, and the goal of the group is to reach everyone within a diverse audience.

The group is open to people of all faiths and they wish to be viewed as a non-discriminatory group, Turner said.

Aaron Schneider, a junior managerial marketing major, said VOT gave him the musical outlet he was looking for, and he loves singing in fellowship with people of the same faith.

Imani Reynolds, a senior human development and family studies major, said she believes Kent State has some work to do in embracing diversity. She said there is always room for improvement.

“Diversity is the acceptance of all differences,” Reynolds said.

Wellsley Jones, a junior fashion merchandising major, said everyone in the world is looking for a connection, and she believes that people like to be around those similar to themselves.

VOT is inclusive by welcoming all individuals with the same love and respect they have for those already within their community, Turner said.

“People in today’s society are clinging to those who share the same qualities, but we remain a diverse group,” Turner said.

He said he wants to be open to those who have an interest in what VOT does, no matter what background they come from.

Turner does not want to force or change religion. He said he just wants to have people simply enjoy gospel music.

Gospel music is defined as good news,” Turner said.

Nadia Stone, a junior biology major, wanted to make friends with the same beliefs as hers, but she said the group is also full of diversity. 

Founded in 1996 as a student organization gospel choir, VOT participates in community service, sings with other groups and performs in other Kent State events.

Their next concert is April 22 at 7 p.m. at Shepherd’s Pasture for All Nations Church.

Megan Furguson is the student life and religion reporter, contact her at [email protected].