Friday, October 7, 2011

HU Choir members perform at the Kennedy Center

HU Choir members perform at the 
Kennedy Center
Christen Wilson, a member of Hampton University’s Concert and University Choirs, was a recipient of a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by the 105 Voices of History

           Two Hampton University students were chosen to participate in the 105 Voices of History HBCU National Concert Choir. Shaun Simmons, a second-year voice major from Philadelphia, Pa., and Christen Wilson, a third-year voice major from Jacksonville, Fla., were selected from among HU students to participate. The National Concert Choir’s performance was held on Sept. 18 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
            Wilson, a member of Hampton University’s Concert and University Choirs, was a recipient of a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by the 105 Voices of History.
            “Being a part of the 105 Voices of History was an unforgettable experience,” said Wilson. “Performing at the Kennedy Center was an honor I never thought I’d have the opportunity to experience.” He was awarded on stage during the concert choir’s performance at the Kennedy Center.
The 105 Voices of History is an HBCU national initiative managed by Partners Achieving Success, an organization created to promote diversity in America’s national venues and to link students’ skills across industries. It was established in 2008 to function as the foremost purveyor of young, emerging African-American leaders, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and resource developers in the country. Performing arts are used as platforms to showcase talent, while seminars and workshops provide rising leaders with leadership, diversity, and entrepreneurial training along with health education and financial literacy education.
            HU has had a strong presence in the 105 Voice of History since its origin. In 2008, Hampton University Director of Choirs Royzell Dillard served as a regional conductor for the 105 Voices of History, helping put together the first Kennedy Center Concert. Three HU students, Elana Moore, Paris Rutledge, and Lauren Davis-Stroud; sang in the first choir, and Elana Moore emerged as the first Voice- a representative of the entire organization. From the spring of 2009 through the current season, Dillard has served as the national choir director.
            Dillard, Simmons, and Wilson attended the five-day leadership conference that began on Sept. 13 and took the dynamic trio from the Kennedy Center to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The final performance on Sept. 18 included a guest appearance by world-renowned songstress and actress Jennifer Holiday.
            “The 105 Voices of History Experience was one to remember because of the constant rehearsals and workshops that made me a better person,” said Simmons. “It was a great opportunity to network with students from across the country.”  

                                                                                             - Morgan Gusby

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