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Choir fills Chapel with heavenly voices

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The chapel was filled with the sounds of praise on Friday as James Calhoun, assistant professor of music, presented an evening of gospel music performed by the La Verne Gospel Choir, featuring guest soloist Vickilyn Reynolds. She is a singer and actress whose credits include the role of Chris Tucker’s mom in the film “Friday” and a co-starring role on the CBS sitcom, “Sugar & Spice.” / photo by David Bess

Karlie Bettencourt
Associate Arts Editor

The University of La Verne gospel choir gave a concert in the University Chapel that had audience members standing up to clap along with the music on Friday evening.

The concert’s theme was “Total Praise,” and consisted of seven songs performed by the university gospel choir and one song from a special guest artist, Vickilyn Reynolds.

“Gospel is the real thing for me,” Reynolds said. “It is a part of my soul.”

“Lift Him High” by Judith Christie McAllister was definitely the one that got the audience most involved.

Throughout the entire song the audience, which completely packed the chapel, was on their feet clapping and dancing along with the choir.

Each of the 11 choir members was so into the music and their singing came naturally, allowing them to give a great performance.

Being the last song that was performed, the choir left the chapel while singing the last line.

This gave an interesting exit to the performance that many of the audience members smiled about.

The other major high part of the performance was when Reynolds performed her song “If I can Help Somebody.” From the moment she walked onto the stage and stood next to the piano she already had an aura to her that told the audience she was devoted to the song.

As she began, the passion in her voice was clearly audible as well as the meaning of the words she spoke because her facial expressions matched the words she was singing.

During the song she belted out a section of the music and as her voice reverberated off of the walls of the small chapel the entire audience was captivated.

“The guest singer was amazing,” said Emily Martin, a freshman English major.

She ended her performance to a standing ovation by most of the audience and everyone joined an applause that seemed like it would never end.

“The choir was fantastic,” Reynolds said. “They all knew their parts and the harmony was wonderful.”

Lauren Medina was the first soloist of the night and performed the solo in “As Far As You Can See,” by Fred Nelson III Her singing was crystal clear and featured great use of vibrato which added great personality to the song.

“I was a little bit nervous, but I had fun,” Medina, junior biology major, said.

Evelyn Burns is another student that had a solo in the song “It’s Already Done” by Kevin Bond. Her singing was loud and clear allowing for the audience to completely understand every word she sang.

She had a confidence when she sang that allowed the audience to listen with ease and not worry.

“I like the atmosphere of singing with everybody,” Burns, a freshman biology major, said.

“When Evelyn Burns sang her solo, it was my favorite part,” Martin said.

There were two male solos in the song “Speak to My Heart” by Donnie McClurkin.

They were performed by tenor, Christopher Kaelberer and bass, Christian Winnewisser. When the two sang they instantly opened up their voices allowing them to spread throughout the entire chapel in a duet of perfect blending that would then be supported by the choir.

“I would sum it up by saying it is fun,” said Kaelberer, a senior business major, said. “Gospel choir is all about spirit and giving it all you got.”

The concert was a great representation of the musical talent that we have on campus.

“It was soulful and spirited,” Martin said.

Karlie Bettencourt can be reached at

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