Photo by Linda Mose Meadows of Bethune Cookman Concert Choir
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:2,3
I so love when college choirs visit the local church and invite the community. Annually several of the historic black college choirs would visit the area churches in Buffalo, NY during their spring or fall concert tour schedules. This often was a great scholarship fundraiser for many church auxiliaries and also an opportunity for the host Alums to showcase their respective visiting college for future high school graduates looking forward to attending “their” desired UNCF School! It didn’t matter how deep the snow or cold the evening, we’d brave the weather because we knew we were in for an outstanding treat! I recall Morehouse and Spellman College Choirs visiting on separate occasions, oh the alum were so proud and rightfully so! The music was always exceptional and the poised, articulate college students made us extremely proud.
During the concert each singer would have an opportunity to introduce themselves, their major and announce their hometown. You could anticipate the sanctuary erupting with resounding applauds and joyous responses when a student was a relative or from our beloved hometown. Reflecting back, what I know for sure is that these polished young men and women’s presence boosted morale and attested to God’s goodness. Yes our spirits were lifted. We were witnessing the hope and the dream that our elders spoke of. You could sense the audience’s pride and affirmation that these college students were shining lights in a dim world.
Attending college and remaining was and is no small fete. It is a financial hardship for most and that the sacrifices that their immediate loved ones make and endure seem to be worth it! Each of the students which stood before us had the capacity for greatness, and apparently was swiftly making “their” way! We were all witnesses that the future awaits them, most especially the children in the church, who had yet to venture out. It was unspoken, a spiritual mandate of sorts to pay attention and someday grab the baton, follow and make their mark in the world!
So I am confident it was much more than an evening concert and a welcoming reception where alum donned their school colors but more importantly a celebration of and for our future savvy young movers and shakers. Their appearance is a public acknowledgement that our personal and collective struggles are worth it all! So I thank God for the call over these young people’s lives and their unique ministry which ushered them north! I thank God for this tradition of sharing sacred musical genres that facilitate worship and celebrate our heritage and culture. And I especially thank God for their presence, their faithfulness, their scholarship which lifts our hearts and encourages our souls regarding God being in the midst! He most assuredly holds our hand continually and is speaking!
Listen up my friends, don’t you hear the young folks singing?
Song: I’ll Never Let Go Of His Hand
From the album NATIONAL BLACK COLLEGE GOSPEL FESTIVAL (1976).
Bethune-Cookman College of Daytona Beach, FL