Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Gospel choir offers students chance to perform

The UA Afro American Gospel Choir has been providing a place for community and worship to its members for over 40 years. The choir has established not only a place for students and the Tuscaloosa community pursue music, but is also an organization with principles strongly based on Christian faith and acceptance.

“It’s been like a place of safety for me,” choir director Alysia Nailor said. “When I first came in they welcomed me. Right off the bat they treated me like family. I had so much support it helped me come out of my shell. It’s our love of people and of music that brings us together. The ministry is our core and it’s helped me grow so much and find my own voice.”

The Afro American Gospel choir was started in 1971 by a group of 12 students who wanted to compete in a choir competition. They decided to sing gospel songs to honor their faith, and they were ultimately awarded first place.

Today, the Afro American Gospel Choir honors their roots by continuing to sing traditional gospel hymns along with new contemporary songs. The choir has grown from their original number of 12 students to anywhere from 35 to 40 members.

“I believe we speak to the UA community by showcasing the heritage and history of our gospel choir and by ministering to UA students at different concerts we host on campus,” LaJoya Reed, corresponding secretary for the choir, said.

The choir participates in competitions and has won the National Baptists Student Union Retreat in Orlando, Fla., three years in a row and hopes to achieve a fourth victory this year.

In addition to competitions, the choir is also very active on campus.

“We typically sing the National Anthem for multiple sorting events, as well as hold concerts,” Sydney Page, choir president, said.

The choir will hold a benefit concert in March to help raise funds for their upcoming competition.

One thing the choir values the most is truly building a family within the organization.

“Were not just an organization, we are truly a family,” Page said. “We are just out there to give of ourselves and to not ask anything in return.”

The Afro American Gospel Choir welcomes people of all nationalities to come and join the choir.

“People think you have to look a certain way or be a certain way to be in the choir,” Nailor said, “We are a very open organization.”

By building a strong emotional connection within the choir, its members are able to come together and perform not just as fellow students, but as a family.

“We are a group of students that have put in a lot of time, work, and patience, who always minister to their audience,” Nailor said. “It’s a time to not only represent the University but what we believe in.”


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