What does the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir have in store for its upcoming concert on Sunday, April 29? Get ready for a dynamic mix of new and old-school inspirational music from diverse times and artists, both sacred and secular sources. Here’s a taste of the songs that will be a part of this joyful, eclectic soul-and-body-moving afternoon.
Born in 1964 in Hartford, Connecticut, Kurt Carr acted and danced as a teen but found himself down to sacred music. After earning a BFA in classical music from the University of Connecticut. He worked with gospel luminaries Andrae Crouch and the Rev. James Cleveland before becoming director of the West Los Angeles Church of God in Christ Choir, where he had the opportunity to work with both gospel and secular musical artists, including Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Yolanda Adams and Kirk Franklin. In 1987 while in Los Angeles, Carr formed a six-member gospel vocal ensemble called The Kurt Carr Singers, with which he’s made eight albums. The concert includes a mash-up of Carr’s “Let’s Set the Atmosphere” and “For Every Mountain.”
Richard Smallwood (born in 1948 in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American gospel music artist who formed The Richard Smallwood Singers in 1977 in Washington, DC. The group’s first album, released in 1982, spent 87 weeks on Billboard’s Gospel chart, and after several Grammy nominations, Smallwood won his first Grammy, along with a Dove Award for his production on the Quincy Jones’ gospel project Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration. His music has been recorded by artists such as Destiny’s Child, Yolanda Adams and many more. With his current group Vision, he has recorded several successful projects for Verity records. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2006. his next project is a live recording featuring Smallwood Singers alums, gospel great The Clark Sister and Hawkins Family, and mega-stars Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin. The Gospel Choir sings his “We’ve Come to Praise Him,” a rousing staple of choirs everywhere, including this community choir:
Contemporary gospel often incorporates spoken word, as does “Glory,” the powerful theme song John Legend and Common co-created for the movie Selma, about the March on Selma:
Kirk Franklin (born in 1970) is an American gospel musician, choir director, author and incredible showman. He is known for leading urban contemporary gospel choirs such as The Family, God’s Property and One Nation Crew (1NC), and has won multiple awards, including twelve Grammy Awards. Now he pursues a successful solo career. His irresistible “I Smile” is part of a three-Franklin-song medley the Gospel Choir will perform.
Gospel stylings and inspiration have gone everywhere in music, including into musical theater – as in the song “This Is Me,” touchingly sung by a female “freak show” performer in the musical The Greatest Showman.
The Gospel Choir is known for its inventive mash-ups, such as the O’Jays‘ Love Train (which topped the charts in 1973) and It’s Time by The Winans, four brothers from Detroit who recorded numerous albums in the 1980s and early 1990s .