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Naval Academy Gospel Choir Honors Black History Month With Concert

Posted on: February 24, 2014 08:00 EST by Midshipman 2nd Class Ike DeBlase Snapp

The United States Naval Academy Gospel Choir performed its annual Black History Month Concert on Feb. 23 at the Naval Academy Chapel.

Friends, family, faculty and staff, and members of the Annapolis community showed up at the concert. 

Also in attendance was Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael Miller, Commandant of Midshipmen Capt. Bill Byrne, and Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen Col. Bobby Shea.

The hour-long event was full of energetic music. Karla Scott, director of the Gospel Choir, is known for being a very active director. On top of occasionally singing along with the choir and directing them, she also engages the audience. At one point, Scott encouraged the audience to get out of their seats and dance to the music.

“We really enjoyed seeing the Supe, Dant, and Dept Dant at the concert tonight,” said Midshipman 1st Class Lyndsey Peters.  “It was fun watching them dance along with us.”

The Gospel Choir sang a variety of songs at the concert, from spirituals to up-tempo church music and anthems to twelve-bar blues. In between songs, the choir took time to recognize certain African Americans who have made a mark on history. Those recognized included Barbara Jordan, the first black female elected to the House of Representatives; Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, who has been nominated to become the Navy’s first female four-star admiral; and George Hickman, one of the first African American fighter pilots.

“The concert was great,” said Midshipman 1st Class Kenyon Williams. “This was a great chance to perform for the city of Annapolis and showcase the diversity of the academy. I also appreciate that we were able to use this concert to reflect on black history, particularly how it’s affected the military.”

For most members of the Gospel Choir, practices and performances are a fun and challenging way to get involved at the academy, but mostly it is an opportunity to worship God.

“Gospel Choir is definitely a religious experience for me,” said Peters.  “It is a fun way to worship in an incredibly close environment.”

For Midshipman 2nd Class Amber Lowman, joining the Gospel Choir has been an incredible experience. 

“I think it’s awesome that we go to a school where people of different races can get together and sing and praise God,” said Lowman. “We’re fulfilling Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. We’re a family.”

During the Naval Academy’s spring break period next week, the Gospel Choir will be heading to New Orleans and Alabama, performing at churches and schools throughout the week.  For the first-class midshipmen in Gospel Choir, this will be the last concert they perform at the Naval Academy until Commissioning Week, where they will perform one final time before graduating in May.  

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