Finding a “Joyful Noise” at AU
November 8, 2017|Posted in: On Campus
Joshua Dantzler is a freshman from Rock Hill, South Carolina majoring in Political Science. He was able to find his home away from home through AU’s gospel choir!
I come from a musical family. My mother plays the flute and piano, my dad plays the drums, my older sister plays the piano and violin, my twin sister plays the flute, and I too, play the drums. I was told that when my mother was pregnant with my twin and me that when she would play music we would have our own little party inside, so it can be argued that our love for music is in our blood (or we like to think that).
My family’s love for music transcends not just the playing of instruments. We all sing, and we sing all the time and anywhere. Whether it be to the radio or family functions we can find ourselves singing something from every genre; however, we sing gospel music the most. Our love for gospel music can be found in our southern roots.
Growing up in the south there was an emphasis on being in church on Sundays. It wasn’t an option. You needed to be dressed, well rested, and ready to praise God, and when going to church it was expected of you to be an active participant in the service. My parents thought the best way for my siblings and I to partake in the service, was to be in the choir. We sing in our home and schools, so why not the church?
From the young age of six, I found myself singing in the choir each and every Sunday. I recall starting off as being one of the youngest members of the choir, but that didn’t stop my parents from pushing me and didn’t stop me from making a “joyful noise”. Even not knowing all the lyrics at times didn’t stop us. As we got older, we took on solos, duets, and even began to direct songs. My older sister Julisa, took to directing when our main director wasn’t there and then eventually left. And when my family and I transitioned to a new church, I followed in my older sister’s footsteps and found myself directing the youth choir. I was in charge of finding, arranging, and teaching songs to peers and people younger than me. I started realizing the importance of my gift and how it impacts others. I began to see how singing and directing went from just a talent of mine to a gift, and how that gift revolved around family. It was my family where my love for music began and it was my choir that become an extension of my immediate family.
I knew coming to college I wanted a similar familial experience. I knew it wouldn’t be the same as home, but I wanted to share with others my gift of gospel music and to sing with peers that wanted to as well. That is what I’ve found thus far in AU’s Gospel Choir. Being a freshman member in the choir, I’ve found a family of singers from all different religious backgrounds and dominations.
We meet every Wednesday night in our Kay Spiritual Center from 8:20-10:40 to sing and rehearse gospel music. Our love for the genre and our passion to sing is shown at our rehearsals, performances, and concerts. Our director constantly pushes for the best in us and pushes us to our maximum potential while also remaining encouraging. He gives attention not only to the music but to us as individuals and students. We have a fall, Christmas, and spring concert each year and we perform at various churches throughout the semester. It’s amazing to see the blessings we can give in all of the venues we perform in.
Being in AU’s Gospel Choir was no doubt one of the best decisions I’ve made this far and I wouldn’t change it. As a freshman, I’ve found that you have the opportunity to be involved in so many things, but finding the organization that fits is key! Having a director that has collegiate and advanced musical experience gives an edge to the program, which I enjoy. I consider myself truly blessed to be a part of this organization and to receive so much love and positivity from this choir family. As a freshman I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my first semester at AU.