International gospel recording artist and SUNY Cortland alumna J. Christine Johnson Sinclair ’89 will headline the 25th Anniversary Gospel Concert on Sunday, Oct. 24.
Hosted by the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir and the Africana Studies Department, the concert begins at 4 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the concert. An offering to support the Gospel Choir Scholarship Fund will be collected during intermission.
Cortland alumnus John Edwards ’86 will guest host. As a student majoring in communication studies, he was a drummer for the College Singers and served as interim director of the Gospel Choir during the time that Sinclair was a SUNY Cortland student. He also served on the College Council.
Joining the event will be the new group, Cortland A Cappella. President Erik J. Bitterbaum will deliver remarks and Janet Hansen of Christ Community Church will present the invocation.
The concert will feature spirituals, traditional and contemporary Gospel, a cappella performances, instrumental gospel, spirituals and jazz. There also will be a spoken selection from God’s Trombones, a 1927 book of poems by James Weldon Johnson patterned after traditional African-American religious oratory. Adjunct Professor Robert Brown, Africana Studies, directs the concert.
Sinclair will sing favorites “Amazing Grace” and the spiritual “Give Me Jesus.” She will perform with the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir in three selections, “For Every Mountain,” “Silver And Gold” and “Order My Steps.” Cortland A Cappella will offer three selections, including spirituals “Wade In The Water” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” Local pianist and Cortland alumna Dorothy Thomas ’77 will perform Dottie Rambo’s “He Looked Beyond My Faults” and “We Shall Behold Him.” Distinguished Service Professor and Professor of Communication Studies Samuel L. Kelley will perform “Go Down Death,” from God’s Trombones. Thomas will accompany Kelley on the piano.
The Gospel Choir will be adding several new selections, “The Presence,” by Youthful Praise, “The Storm Is Over,” by Kirk Franklin and “Alpha and Omega.” The group will also perform several all-time favorites, including “O Happy Day,” “The Best Is Yet To Come” and “Perfect Praise.” Soloists for the event include Khalia Brown, Melody Byron and Jason Carriero.
In addition to playing for the choir, the Gospel Choir Ensemble will perform two selections. The group features director and trombonist Robert Brown, local saxophonist Jamie Yaman, keyboardist Andy Rudy, percussionist Terry Benjamin and bass guitarist Reggie Seigler.
Concert co-sponsors include the Black Student Union, President’s Office, Multicultural Life Office and the Vice President for Student Affairs Office. The event is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee.