WEB EXCLUSIVE: Gospel choir celebrates Christmas

Erica Crist

Tonight the University Gospel Choir’s concert, “Reign,” will feature a guest choir, student soloists, songs of praise and songs of Christmas celebration.

The theme “reign” signifies that God is in control, said Linda B. Walker, director of the University Gospel Choir and an associate professor in the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music.

“Even in the midst of recent tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina, God still reigns and is in control,” she said. “I’m from Mississippi and I had to constantly remind myself of this fact during Katrina, because I had family and friends that were and are affected.”

“Reign” is also the title of the closing song for the concert, said Tessa Knapp, a senior information design major who is a member of the University Gospel Choir.

“The words, ‘Your kingdom glorious, victorious, will never ever end. Reign, Jesus reign,’ are almost like a prayer to God,” she said. “The song is praising him and asking him to reign over everything. In my life this is also true.”

Walker said the theme also ties in with the Christmas music the choir will be singing because the birth of Jesus also shows God’s power and reign over us.

The University Gospel Choir will be joined by the St. Timothy Youth Choir from Cleveland for the song “Happy Birthday, Jesus.”

The concert will also feature a silent auction, with gifts from Best Cuts, Flynn’s Tires, Beckwith Orchards, Family Video and other local businesses, Walker said.

In addition to supporting the choir and local businesses, this concert is an opportunity to support the diversity of the Kent State campus, Walker said.

“The University Gospel Choir is the most diverse ensemble on this campus,” she said. “There will be faculty members to see, there will be staff, there will be people of different races, ages and majors ƒ_” It is a very diverse unit.”

Both Walker and Knapp said they hope the audience walks away thinking about the concert’s message at the end of the night.

“I hope the audience has a better feel for what gospel music is all about,” Knapp said. “I hope they have a good time and think about the lyrics we sing. Whether they have deep spiritual meaning to some, or if they are just words to others, they are worth thinking about.”

Contact performing arts correspondent Erica Crist at [email protected].