A Joyful Noise

Stephanie Toone

There was a celebration of gospel going on in Garrett Conference Center Ballroom on Sunday, but the celebration could have been mistaken for a showcase of the brightest talents of Kentucky.

The room was packed with more than 500 people, many of whom were singing and doing some fancy footwork.

The second annual Gospel Explosion brought the gospel ensembles of the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University and Western together.

Though there were powerful singers and jamming bands, the purpose was not entertainment.

Louisville graduate and former Amazing Tones of Joy member Kelly Dalton said the Gospel Explosion’s main goal was reached.

“We came together to lift the name of Jesus regardless of whether other people came to see a show or not,” he said.

Diana Mabson, choir director for UK’s Black Voices, agreed.

“These kids are here not because their parents made them, but because they really want to praise and worship Jesus,” Mabson said.

She said there is a stigma that young blacks are only interested in negative things such as selling drugs or having children. She said an event like the Gospel Explosion should be publicized more.

Louisville senior Sheriden Williams, a musician for Amazing Tones of Joy, said the Gospel Explosion was a great event for many reasons.

“This really unified the college choirs and the colleges,” Williams said. “It’s very important as a good marketing tool to get people who don’t go to school to come out.”

He said the event was also fitting to help celebrate Amazing Tones of Joy’s 33rd anniversary.

Leon Richards, adviser for the KSU gospel ensemble, said the celebration was a positive outlet for students.

“This is great for the students with aspirations to be professional gospel singers,” Richards said. “It’s a great forum for the musicians to get together, too.”

Lousiville senior Deandra VanCleave, president of Amazing Tones of Joy, said she also hopes to have it again after this year’s success.

“I am very overjoyed that it all worked out and everybody made it safely,” she said. “I can’t even put it into words.”

VanCleave said the program will continue as long as the Campus Activities Board will sponsor it.

“It really unites people all over the campus and community,” she said. “When it all boils down to it, we’re all singing about the same God no matter what school we’re from.”

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