Gospel Sing 2007

by Katelyn Noll '07

On Saturday, February 10, Azusa Pacific University's Office of Multi-Ethnic Programs presented the 12th annual Gospel Sing, an evening of worship through music and dance. The university's Gospel Choir joined the First Church of God Center of Hope praise team, APU alum Loren Smith '04, Gio and Company, Church of the Redeemer Gospel Choir, and an APU student group to create a night of praise and worship through song. APU's step teams Umoja and Black Men's Fellowship also performed. From the first song of the night to the last, the audience joined the singers in praise.

This free event was held in the Felix Event Center. The theme for the night, "living life as worship," was inspired by Ephesians 2:20-22. Master of Ceremonies Petra Washington '07 welcomed the audience and reminded them that "it's not about a show, and it's not about whether you can or cannot sing. It's about giving God the glory." Washington invited the artists and attendees to become "united as the body of Christ in worship," to sing and dance along with those on stage.

APU's Gospel Choir opened with the first songs, leaving a smile on the face of every member of the choir and the audience. The Felix Event Center was filled with clapping, dancing, singing, and smiling. Director Letitia Ugwueke performed a solo, as did students Jonathon Holley '08, Gloria Johnson, LaKesha Nugent '09, and Jeremiah Woods '07.

The First Church of God Center of Hope also blessed attendees with its music. The group was directed by Bishop Gregory Dixon, Ph.D., member of APU's Board of Trustees. Loren Smith sang several songs. "I am so honored to be back here at APU," he said. Smith has left an important legacy at APU—he helped start the university's Gospel Choir with Kimasi Brown in 2001.

The Church of the Redeemer Gospel Choir kept the spirit of worship, singing in both Spanish and English. Their songs featured music of the saxophone, performed by Paul Flores, Ph.D., assistant professor of liberal studies at APU and pastor at Church of the Redeemer.

Audience participation continued throughout the entire night, and the Felix Event Center filled with excitement when student groups Black Men's Fellowship and Umoja performed. "Step is more than praise and worship," said Washington. "It's warfare." The audience could see the passion and excitement on the faces of the teams as they created powerful rhythms using only their hands, legs, and voices.

At the end of the night, APU students LaKesha Nugent, Latoysha Taylor '09, Rufus Olivier '07, Jonte Moore '07, Jonathon Holley, Rachel Johnson '07, and Jeremiah Woods, led by Marques Nelson '07, performed several songs, one of which was written by student Latoysha Taylor. The Gospel Choir joined them to close the night as it was begun: dancing and singing with praise to God.