In commemoration of Black History Month, a concert featuring the Geneva MLK Memorial Choir and the HWS International Gospel Ensemble will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 at St. John’s Chapel.
The performance, Lift Ev’ry Voice, will be the fourth annual gospel celebration to benefit the Geneva Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund for graduating seniors and the Colleges’ Martin Luther Jr. Scholarship Fund for Graduate Studies and Professional Development. The joint performance showcases the collaboration between the HWS and Geneva communities under the leadership of the Gospel Choir’s founder and director Patty Blue ’77 of the HWS Office of Religious Life. The concert is a great way to see the progress the Gospel Choir has made since its inception in 2013. They perform powerful, moving music, with intent on being spiritual.
Blue says that “praise with a purpose” is the primary objective of the “Lift Every Voice” concert. She says that the MLK Memorial Choir and HWS International Gospel Ensemble this year are joining forces for the first time to celebrate Black History Month and to raise funds for campus and community scholarships.
“The MLK Memorial Choir is an interdenominational, multicultural choir which annually brings together some of the best gospel singers and musicians in the Finger Lakes region, but it also provides an opportunity for new and inexperienced singers to develop their skills,” Blue says. “The HWS Gospel Ensemble was formed last year and is comprised primarily of international students and faculty from Africa, China, France and Germany. Although most are newcomers to the gospel art form, they are developing into solid choir with a distinct and harmonious sound.”
Blue says a few of the evening’s highlights will include musical performances by Mark Gramling, Trisha Wiggins and newcomer, Kelly Andriamasindray, an HWS French Fulbright French Instructor.
At the concert, a freewill offering will be raised with all proceeds donated to the Geneva MLK Scholarship Fund and the HWS Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund for Graduate Study and Professional Development.
The HWS International Gospel Ensemble (previously the HWS Gospel Choir) was newly formed in 2013 after a debut at Sankofa’s Kwanzaa Celebration. Blue leads the choir with rehearsals held weekly. The group prides itself on being interdenominational and multicultural. Blue is the founder and director of the Geneva MLK Memorial Choir, a position she has held for more than 20 years. The choir is among multiple music groups on campus: 3 Miles Lost, A-Positive, the Hobartones, and Perfect Third.