by Sheridan Cyr
CCSU’s Ebony Chorale Ensemble performed their annual fall gospel concert Thursday evening in Torp Theater. The concert featured a compilation of upbeat and lively songs, prayer and rejoices.
“This is our testimony. Whether we know it or not, we all have a testimony,” explained the choir’s secretary, Kristina Goodrich.
The group was composed of about thirty vocalists, two guitarists, a drummer, keyboardist and director. The show jumped into action with a sound that made both the curtains and the hearts of the audience tremble.
Goodrich welcomed to the stage The Gospel Girls of Rehobeth Church of God: Yasmine and Brianna, who enticed the crowd with a heartfelt confessional song. Together they sang, “I wanted to let you know, that you’re my closest friend.” The song earned a strong reaction as listeners clapped to the beat and shouted in agreement and encouragement.
Treasurer Elissa Coleman opened up, saying, “I would just like to get transparent with you guys for a hot second. Seeking out God was one of the best decisions of my life. It has taught me to love myself.” She continued to say, “Joining Ebony has given me a family to love and be loved by.”
Conductor of the chorale ,Stephen Goodwin, spoke on the temptation to veer away from God, specifically in college. He explained that faith can easily become lost among homework, holding down a job and managing a social life. Ebony chorale allows students to admit to and thrive in their faith without feeling embarrassed or tempted, according to Goodwin.
“Welcome In” encouraged interaction from the crowd. The song was so beautifully overwhelming that it was nearly impossible to not contribute to the message. Many got up from their seats and danced, prayed, lifted up their hands and even tried to sing along.
“Not Like Me” featuring a solo from Chanel Little reached the audience most, as the most familiar tune. It begged an answer for the question, “What if God was one of us?” Williams and Little admitted that humans have the ability lie, put off others, give into temptations and simply are not as reliable as God is. The message encouraged everyone to act in life as you expect God to act toward you.
Soloist Evard James led “Nothing Without You,” a song made eminently powerful through a repetitive confession to God. By the end of the song, the whole room was yelling, arms stretched toward the ceiling, some even with tears streaming down, “I’m nothing without you, I’m nothing without you.”
A few more lively, emotionally moving songs followed before closing. Micca Charles and Christina Peltrop powerfully sang, “Beautiful,” Stephen Wilson led the choir in “Meet Me Here,” and president Shazayla Parker riled up the room with “At the Cross.” Every single song, without fail, earned a standing ovation and compelling praise, love and encouragement from the voices of listeners.
The show in its entirety gave a magnificent message of hope, faith and promise. It allowed people who have had trust broken, who struggle to buy one decent meal, who are devastated by the loss of a loved one, who cannot imagine getting through just one more day, to feel the empowering capacity of God’s love.
Founded in 1972 by Michael B. Hill, James A. Knight and Central’s first black campus minister Reverent Robert Mason, Ebony Chorale Ensemble formed to enhance and develop Black culture through musical enlightenment. Any student may join. In addition to rehearsals they have group discussions and Bible Studies every week and present one concert toward the end of every semester.