Gospel groups celebrate ten years of finding their voice

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Members of Valley Voices were asked to do it for the vine, and they did it for the John 15.

Valley Voices held its 10th annual college night Friday where gospel choirs from Central Michigan, Michigan State, University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan joined Saginaw Valley to sing praises to God.

Vanguard photo | Tyler Bradley

Bianca White takes a solo at Valley Voices’ 10th annual college night. The event was held in the Malcolm Field Performing Arts Theater last Friday.

“Those who come to the event experience not only entertainment, but their spirits uplifted,” said George Copeland, business management and communication junior.  “That whatever problems they come in with, that while they’re in the concert, they’ve forgotten their hardships or the things that’s on their mind. They’re just living in the moment and they’re experiencing peace and joy.”

Valley Voices traditionally held the event off campus at the World Outreach Campus, but brought it to campus at the Malcolm Field Theatre for the 10th anniversary.

“You can go on Youtube and see videos of when our choir first started, and we had a good eight singers,” Copeland said. “When I first started out, I can say it’s doubled in size since then.”

The group began traveling locally within the city. Now the choir has traveled out of state, through a spring break tour where members performed in Chicago.

Business management junior Brandon Jones said many former members who transferred to institutions get involved with other campuses’ choirs.

“They say it’s nothing like our choir,” Jones said. “We don’t just come together and sing. We come together and have movie nights, study nights.  We’re more than just an organization or a ministry. We’re a family.”

At the event, about 30 Valley Voices members performed under the theme of “The Freedom Experience.”

The group also had a benefit concert in October.

“It’s somewhat a snippet of what to expect at college night,” social work freshman Ajanee Rozier said. “It’s a  way to get our feet wet, get ready for the whole school year and be empowered about Christ.”

The group travels to other campuses, such as University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Central Michigan University, to perform at their college nights.

“Every weekend, we’ve been gone singing,” Jones said.

“There was one weekend where we had at least four performances in one weekend,” Rozier said.

Other events the group has done this year include singing at the Nelson Mandela tribute on campus and singing at former President Eric Gilbertson’s last breakfast as president.

Copeland said he’s thought about getting the group to travel internationally.

“There’s a lot of ministries that go on international mission trips,” Copeland said. “It would be amazing if our choir could find a mission trip to go on. I thought about Alternative Breaks, but that’s more so working and volunteering, so that’s why I want to look at mission trips for college students.”

Members stressed that the group can be life-changing.

“I can say from my first year being here, if it wasn’t for Valley Voices, I probably wouldn’t have come back here second semester,” Rozier said.

“Valley Voices has changed me personally in many ways,” communication freshman Cameron Taylor-Love said. “I wouldn’t be the person I am right now with school and with other things or as whole as I am right now without Valley Voices.”

Valley Voices is open to the public and meets 8 to 10 p.m. Mondays in Brown 109 and 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays in the Student Life Program Room. For more information, request to join the group on OrgSync.