Photo and story by Daniel Shaw-Remeta / Contributing Writer
The MTSU Women’s Chorale Ensemble performed Tuesday inside the James E. Walker Library atrium to promote the gospel music history exhibit that is being housed in the library throughout the fall semester.
With help from the Gospel Music Association, the MTSU Center for Popular Music and the MTSU School of Music, the library is featuring an exhibit that showcases inductees of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame for the rest of the semester.
“The library does these kinds of concerts about three or four times a semester,” said Bonnie Allen, dean of Walker Library. “We want to showcase some of the cultural events on campus that students don’t tend to take advantage of. The library is a centerpiece for most students. So, they’re sure to hear things here.”
Students stopped to listen and take pictures of the stage set up around them. The choir, singing from both sides of the second floor, surrounded the audience on the first floor. The piano remained in the center of the atrium, creating an aesthetic medley of music and lyrics.
“I thought the performance was very well done, and I really loved how the choir was up a level, and the sound just trickled down from the second story of the library,” said MTSU freshman Jake Hamstra, who is a vocal music major.
The MTSU Women’s Chorale Ensemble is comprised of some of the most widely appreciated female voices on campus. They perform a variety of styles of music, from folk songs to Broadway selections. At Tuesday’s event, they performed the gospel pieces, “Praise His Holy Name” by Keith Hampton, “Courage My Soul” by Rollo Dilworth and “Still I Rise” by Rosephanye Powell. Their first official concert of the semester will be Oct. 26 at MTSU’s Hinton Hall, where they will perform some of the same pieces and more.
The event was the second of three concerts being held in celebration of the gospel history exhibit. Visual and Performing Arts Librarian Grover Baker organized both of the concerts in the library.
“There are other programs that are going to take place throughout the semester that are designed, again, to promote the exhibit,” said Cedric Dent, a music professor, member of the GMA Foundation Board of Directors and the pianist for Tuesday’s performance. “That was the first and foremost reason for today’s event.”
The exhibit displays past inductees of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, such as Mahalia Jackson, Bill Gaither, Andrae Crouch and Rich Mullins, on artistic tapestries. Glass cases hold items such as the Gospel Metal fan magazine and a picture of Dent’s vocal group, Take 6, which was inducted in 2014.
The Trinity Jazz Ensemble, an ecumenical group, and Dent will be performing under the direction of School of Music Director Michael Parkinson on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The performance will also take place in the library atrium.
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