Gospel choir spreads praise during annual fall showcase

Victoria Cirilli

Staff Writer

The Troy University Gospel Singers  (TUGS) held their fall showcase, “Fight On,” on Friday, Oct. 20, in the John M. Long Hall Band Room.

TUGS performed classic gospel medleys, including popular Christian songs like “Give Me Jesus” by Harry Burleigh and “Spirit Break Out” by William McDowell.

Some other songs performed during the concert were “Not About Us” by Bishop Noel Jones, featuring soloist Jermaine Van Buren Jr., a sophomore theater major from Hattiesburg, Mississippi; “Be Encouraged” by William Becton & Friends; and “Victory Belongs to Jesus” by Todd Dulaney.

Other talent showcased at the event were members of the band, a saxophonist, mimes who performed interpretive dancing to some of the gospel music and Troy Pendulum — a slam poetry group that recites written word.

James Brown, assistant professor of choral music and conductor for Troy University’s Collegiate Singers and Gospel Singers, hoped that students and other members of the audience would be encouraged by the word of God and find meaning in the performance.

“The music for the show was inspired by what I see is happening in our world,” Brown said. “I just hope that (the audience) would hear the words of encouragement and to work through tough times.

“I want my students to have a voice to share their emotions in a powerful way that isn’t hurting anyone, but encouraging others.”

The message of the gospel in the performance was heard by Johnny Kiernan, a sophomore risk management insurance major from Bedford, New Hampshire. Kiernan said he was moved by the choir’s music.

“The performances were most definitely spirit-led,” Kiernan said. “There are so many talents that each student has, and to hear them come together as a group is just extraordinary.

“The mimes were a favorite, just showing through dance how we can worship God, so that was very powerful, especially to the gospel music.”

“We see too much violence in our world right now, and this is a peaceful way to share love and hope for others tonight and to encourage those who enjoyed the performance,” Brown said.

Hannah Littleton, a sophomore communication major from Montgomery who is involved in TUGS, said the performance given by her and the choir was very organic and emotionally connected.

“I normally have so much anxiety about speaking in front of people, but when it comes to praise and worship that is so intimate between me and God that it’s way easier to perform something like this,” said Littleton.

Van Buren, a member of both TUGS and Troy Pendulum, said that his favorite part of the concert was the “atmosphere that the soloists and the band and the choir set.”

“When you set the atmosphere correctly, you allow the Spirit to move in and work, and that’s what I love about performing,” Van Buren said.

The group will be singing at the Sounds of the Season concert held at the beginning of December, working together with several other choirs for the Christmas season. It will also have another performance in the spring similar to “Fight On.”

TUGS will be orchestrating an alumni gospel festival where alumni of TUGS will be returning to celebrate Gospel Fest with current students.

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