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How sweet the sound: Gospel music theme of next Presidential Forum on Diversity series


Members of Union''s Heavenly Voices gospel choir among those who will participate in interfaith gospel workshop and concert.
Members of Union''s Heavenly Voices gospel choir among those who will participate in interfaith gospel workshop and concert.

Think of it as a gospel version of “Glee.”

Over two days beginning Friday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m., singers from diverse backgrounds among the campus community and general public are invited to participate in an interfaith gospel workshop.

Under the musical direction of Rev. Shaun Whitehead of St. Lawrence University and Lyndon Walters of Union’s Heavenly Voices gospel choir, participants will learn a few spirituals and songs, along with a history of gospel music.

Less than 24 hours later a t 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, the group will perform the songs during an interfaith gospel concert in Memorial Chapel. The concert also features a talk by Deidre Hill Butler, associate professor of sociology, “Interfaith Connections to Gospel Music.”

The workshop, concert and lecture are part of the Presidential Forum on Diversity series.

Focusing on the beauty and history of gospel music fit in well with this year’s diversity theme of religion, spiritual life and interfaith, said Gretchel Hathaway, senior director of Campus Diversity and Affirmative Action.

“We hope this event will bring together people from diverse cultures, faiths and voices,” she said. “The roots of gospel music played an important spiritual and cultural role in our society, and by inviting people from various backgrounds to share in its history, perhaps we can all learn a little something about each other.”

Participation in the workshop is free for the campus community; the cost is $20 for the general public. To register, contact Hathaway at hathawag@union.edu.

The concert, with talk, is free and open to the public.

Previous speakers in the Presidential Forum on Diversity series have included poet Maya Angelou, journalist Soledad O'Brien, law professor Lani Guinier, Broadway star Anthony Rapp, actress Marlee Matlin and activist Morris Dees.