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Alumni Gospel Choir

Department Overview

Someone once told me that we humans created music out of a need to talk to God. This theory made sense because I knew music had the power to speak in ways that words alone could not. Not only could it touch the listener, it transformed the troubadour as well. Anyone who has ever hummed a tune on a sunny day or been in ear shot of an enthusiastic whistler has experienced this power in action.

Music. What a perfect medium for a chat with the Master! It is a transforming medium custom for the ultimate transforming experience! King David was definitely on to something.

Millennia later at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, group of African American students discovered their need to "talk to God" and formed a choir. And although these students graduated from Swarthmore, a remarkable thing happened. They took the choir with them. If you asked any member of the Swarthmore Alumni Gospel Choir why this happened, he or she might tell you that this is a conversation with God that is still going on. In fact, it's just getting started.

Carolyn Mitchell '74

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Members of the Alumni Gospel Choir gather in prayer on the steps of the Friends Meeting House before their 40th anniversary concert this spring.
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Choir Director Vaneese Thomas '74 leads the choir in song.
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Sam Brackeen '68 offers a prayer.
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Gerald Cox '78 (right) performs a solo during "Just in Time."
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Freeman Palmer '79 and Vaneese Thomas '74 perform solos during "Listen to the Rain."
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Members of the College's student choir joined the program.
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"When we were students, the choir was our cultural, spiritual, and educational refuge," Thomas says. "We needed each other for everything, so the concept that we'd still be singing together is not so far fetched. There's also the need to mentor students as we were mentored. We're committed to that."
Members of the Alumni Gospel Choir gather in prayer on the steps of the Friends Meeting House before their 40th anniversary concert this spring.
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