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UC Choir Celebrates 10 Years of Harmony

Date: Jan. 28, 2002
By Jennifer Carter Photo by Andrew Higley
Contact:: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Archive: General News

"I can't wait to sing. I can't wait to see everybody."

Tamar Kinebrew and the rest of the African American Cultural and Research Center (AACRC) Choir get together for four hours of practice every Wednesday. Many college students are not willing to give so much time for singing. But the 50 AACRC choir members know that those four hours are touched by much more than song.

"I can't even bring enough words to explain the friendships that I've made within the choir and the bonds that I've made with so many people," says Taurean Johnson, second-year student and the choir's current president.

This year the choir is celebrating its 10th anniversary along with the AACRC. "We're just celebrating 10 years of excellence," says choir manager Terri Hurdle. AACRC Choir

This anniversary year will be a family reunion for many members. The choir is "not just people I sing with or perform with. I've grown with them. They're my family," Abigail Conway, the vice-president of the choir, says. "It's a family atmosphere," adds Kinebrew.

Eric Abercrumbie, AACRC director and director of Ethnic Programs and Services, started the choir in 1992. "Dr. Abercrumbie envisioned a musical entity that would cultivate the talents of young, gifted African American students who would come together for one common purpose, to inspire the lives of others through the gift of song," the choir web site displays.

Led by music director P. Eric Watford, the choir performs many different types of music. Concerts often include inspirational pieces, traditional gospel, spirituals, dance and even miming. Fans are struck by the quality and vitality of the performance.

To join the choir, interested students must first audition. The auditions are used to evaluate students' musical abilities and to explain the demands on time, which can be substantial.

In the past two years the choir has traveled to Cleveland, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Jackson, Miss., and Tuskegee, Ala. "I've experienced a lot by going on different college campuses and seeing how different people are basically going through the same things we're going through here, just in different cities," says Johnson.

In February, the choir will be attending the Praise and Worship Conference in Atlanta, where they will have the opportunity to meet gospel artists like Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams.

In addition to traveling, the AACRC choir also helps out in the Cincinnati community. "Most of our community activism revolves around schools and churches," Ewaniki Moore, a fifth-year choir member, says. The choir participates in walk-a-thons, mentors students, and in the past, has visited nursing homes and youth centers.

The main 10th anniversary celebration will be May 2-5 in conjunction with the AACRC's Ushindi, or victory, celebration. Former choir members are invited to return and meet with the current choir. In addition, former members will join the current choir for a concert on May 4, which will also feature a major gospel artist. Another AACRC choir concert will take place at 5 p.m. April 14, in Corbett Auditorium.

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