The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Young, Gifted, Black Gospel Choir and Black Church

Started in 1967 by six women in the basement of Younker Hall, the Young, Gifted, Black Gospel Choir has a proud history of sharing the cultural experience of gospel. While the original mission of the group was to revel in its cultural uniformity, it now represents the college’s diverse student body.

“My first time was amazing. … I’ve been in a lot of gospel choirs, I come from a religious background … and this was exciting,” said member Christian Snow ’13.

Open to all skill levels, races, genders and religious backgrounds, the choir meets for roughly an hour every Wednesday night in Bucksbaum. There, they practice for their performances at Black Church, which takes place in Herrick Chapel once a month and was an outgrowth of the gospel choir.

“It’s just something where we can come and worship the way we know how to worship,” Snow said.

Black Church is organized by a group of students on the planning committee with Deanna Shorb’s occasional input. They invite outside preachers from Des Moines and Iowa City to speak to the group that attends worship. They are also responsible for enlisting the help of their fellow students to lead the church in prayer and Bible study.

“I was really amazed that students could come together and create a church environment and worship,” Snow said. “I was always taught that it was the adults’ job.”

YGB also has a long tradition of excellence in the art of gospel. During second semester, they tour an area of the country for a week of spring break, performing at churches, soup kitchens, and performance halls. The director, Barry Jones, works students hard to prepare them for the strenuous trip, but he makes sure to keep the mission of gospel alive.

“He’ll tell us what the songs mean, what they should mean to us, what the purpose of the song is,” Snow said, “and that’s why I love YGB, because we sing for a purpose.”

YGB will celebrate its 44th anniversary next semester, while Black Church will celebrate its 15th anniversary.

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