By: Tonya Jackson
The Tuskegee Choir is an organization steeped in more than a century of pride and the richest of choral traditions. Since its inception, the Tuskegee Choir has served as an artistic model while carving its place in American history. The school choir was developed in 1886 because Dr. Booker T. Washington had determined that the Institute was in need of a group of singers who could lead vesper services and sing for special campus occasions. On Friday, March 11th the Greater Pensacola Tuskegee Alumni Club and St. Joseph Catholic Church hosted the Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir in conjunction with St. Joseph’s 125th anniversary celebration.
The Golden Voices Choir is currently led by Wayne A. Barr, Director of Choral Activities at Tuskegee University. Brenda Shuford is the Choral accompanist for the Choral Department of Tuskegee University. The Choir Chaperone is Ms. Antoinette Frederick, representing Tuskegee class of 1943.
Some of the songs those in attendance heard the powerful Golden Voices sing included “Cast Thy Burden upon the Lord,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” “Lord. We Give Thanks to Thee,” “We Are Our Heavenly Father’s Children,” and “There is a Balm in Gilead.” The latter directed by student conductor, Orlando Hale. The Tuskegee University Men’s Glee Club performed “Roll, Jordan Roll.” The final song of the concert was “Order My Steps” and featured soprano Ceira Caston. Ms. Caston’s mastery of this song had people up on their feet and singing along with her. The evening concluded with the singing of “The Tuskegee Song.” “The Tuskegee Song,” began as a poem meant to capture the Tuskegee spirit, was written in 1906 by Paul Laurence Dunbar to commemorate Tuskegee University’s 25th Anniversary.
The Golden Voices are currently completing their Spring Tour 2016. After leaving Pensacola, they were scheduled to perform in Mobile.