Gospel celebration concert

Celebrating fifteen years of tradition

By Raechel Lites 

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On October 22 Choral Director Mrs. Linda DeRungs and Dr. Roosevelt Escalante from Morehead State University opened the doors for the fifteenth year of the annual Gospel Choir Concert, including the NAHS choir, the Jeffersonville High School Chamber Singers, and three participants from Morehead State.

DeRungs met Dr. Escalante at a conference through a mutual friend. Sharing the interest of Gospel music, created a friendship. Dr. Escalante was a classical piano player and had begun to teach himself jazz and gospel. DeRungs said she then decided to take a chance on her new colleague and hired him for a three-day visitation into her classroom then tradition began.

Shortly into the concert, three of Dr. Esclantes’ students from Morehead State University joined into the choir.

“That was a unique thing that was Roosevelt’s idea, he has a vocal jazz group at Morehead and he also directs the gospel choir,”

DeRungs said. DeRungs branched out to her colleague Leslie Rajel from Jeffersonville High School to have her chamber choirs come in and create an enormous group of kids to share in the newly found tradition.

Junior Gareth Gaddis explains the difference between traditional choir music and gospel.

“Most choirs, like A cappella is very traditional, and we sing in Latin a lot and it’s very structured,” Gareth Gaddis said. “Gospel is the complete opposite; there’s no structure really to it, it can change and be different so its just you have to learn the style which is a very hard skill to learn.”

“Students who like to solo have that opportunity,” DeRungs said. “It’s just the style they like better, so if the gospel concert is what keeps them in my program in the fall that’s great.”

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