Last spring, the Swarthmore Alumni Gospel Choir celebrated its 40th anniversary in its inimitable, fervent style - with a concert in the Swarthmore Friends Meeting House. This spring, they performed during Arts Weekend and were again joined by the Student Gospel Choir.
Officially founded in 1986 during Black Alumni Weekend, the choir's roots go back to the early 1970s. Its members live all over the country, yet travel to Swarthmore to rehearse and perform several times a year. Led by singer Vaneese Thomas '74, the Alumni Gospel Choir is known for its imaginative musical arrangements, talented musicians and singers, and the fervent style in which it performs its renditions of spirituals and contemporary gospel music.
In 1996, the choir issued Hallelujah! Amen, its first album, which they followed in 2000 with Star Gazer, a collection of holiday advent music. The net proceeds of their sales fund two College scholarships. In 1999, Swarthmore awarded the Joseph B. Shane Alumni Service Award to the choir for "outstanding service and commitment to Swarthmore College."