Gospel Choir raises voice with fresh faces

It’s the sound of excellence, as Florida A&M University would put it.  The world-renowned gospel choir made a big turn around after two years in a drought.  But what made this turn around possible? 

Francis Stallworth, the adviser of the FAMU Gospel Choir said she is happy that the choir has made an improvement and that a lot has changed and it was the work of the choir officers that made it happen.

“It’s due to mostly our e-board, which is very proactive.  They apparently went to the different residencies and recruited students,” Stallworth said.

With 25 to 35 members from fall 2008 to spring 2009, the FAMU gospel choir has now developed into one of the biggest HBCU choirs, averaging 100 members, making the choir almost three times as big as it was two years ago.

Gospel choir director, Alange’ Foster said she didn’t have to do any work to get people to come to the choir and if it had not been for the members spreading the word around, the choir would not have a lot of members this semester.

“I personally really didn’t do too much hands on recruiting but I know a lot of our other established members did,” Foster said.  “I really think it was a lot of word of mouth because we didn’t do any real recruitment along the lines of fliers and radio drops and stuff like that,” Foster said.

Although the numbers in the choir are encouraging, not all members feel as though that’s all the gospel choir has to offer. Clyde Woodberry, assistant musical director, said it’s not the numbers, but the willingness to want to be a part of something great.

“The numbers are encouraging.  It does say a lot about the standard of the choir but more than anything, the numbers are not what really drives me, it’s more the dedication of a few that has kept the choir going thus far that still continues to keep it going as of right now,” Woodberry said.

According to Woodberry, 85 percent to 95 percent of the choir are freshmen, which allows for the choir to be trained to produce a fresh sound for the New Year. Foster and Stallworth said they expect great things and with hard work, the choir will be successful throughout the new school year.