A gospel chorus of community

Emma Bennett—Staff Writer

The word ‘community’ can mean different things. For some it is family, for others it may be church or a sports team.

Community can also be a choir. That is why, when news that a gospel choir would be coming to the Sioux Center community, people from every walk of life entered Dordt University’s very own choir room. 

While coming in, people offered warm greetings to their neighbors. After getting the chance to mingle, leaders Carey Luce and Geraldine Latty started rehearsal.

The style of gospel that the group learned is known as contemporary gospel, which means that the choir is split into three parts: sopranos, altos, and the male part. Before dividing them up, however, Latty plunged her performers right into a song, which was a jazzy and upbeat spiritual that got everyone moving in their seats. 

Since sheet music is not typically a part of the gospel style, Latty sings each line part by part, which the choir listens to and sings back. In addition to the choir’s voices, the piano played by Luce and a drum carried on rhythm in the background, while singers received instruction. 

There were few moments of silence in between breaks; excited chatter filled every pause, and applause echoed around the room after every part finished their line, every soloist finished their part, and pointedly after the gentlemen sang, who were prone to respond with shyness. 

Singers were enamored by Latty’s humor and passionate, encouraging spirit. She smiled the whole time and gushed whenever the group added any extra flare to the lines. Whenever there was silence, she filled it with prayers and gratitude for being able to travel and be there. After the rehearsal, the directors were surrounded by happy adults, grateful students, offers to drive them home, or to have dinner sometime. 

As learned this past year, community is crucial for the human spirit to be happy and grow. Luce and Latty are dedicated to bringing together groups of people who would never interact otherwise, as well as give the graduated Dordt community something they miss doing: praise the Lord through song. 

The leaders encouraged this positivity by asking how everyone felt, telling people to turn to their neighbor and say, “I’m so glad you came.” 

“When [do] you have a room full of seniors and students and community and people who are total strangers?” Latty said. “It’s already way beyond us.”

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