BU’s Inner Strength Gospel Choir: Lifting Voices from a Distance
Current and former members recorded solo video performances of their “Unity Medley” from home
BU’s Inner Strength Gospel Choir is renowned for its performances at Marsh Chapel and its two annual concerts, fall and spring. But when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 75 plus members to return home, their spring concert, and their April 19 Marsh Chapel appearance, had to be canceled.
The disruption was hard for everyone, says Emily Mantz (Sargent’21), current ISGC president. “I was disappointed when I realized we could not have a spring concert or sing with each other for a while. Our Sunday nights together are usually the highlight of my week and concerts are a big tradition of ours.”
So BU Today invited the choir to record a “performance in isolation,” Musical director Herbert Jones (MET’17) recorded a simple piano version of the group’s popular “Unity Medley” (a mash-up of “If I Can Help Somebody” by Alma Bazel Androzzo, “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King, and “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers), which choir members typically perform live in three-part harmony. The piano track was emailed to both current and former members, and 18 singers, including choir alums from as far back as the Class of 1988, recorded their individual arrangement parts at home. The solo recordings were then synced up digitally, resulting in as close to a full choir performance as can be achieved while being scattered across the country.
“As I watch and listen to us sing, I can’t help but smile,” says Mantz. “it makes me feel like we are all together, even though we aren’t.”
We think the result will bring a smile, and we hope, lift your spirits as well. Take a look.