Gospel music festival kicks off in Cortland

The following is a republished press release…to submit a community announcement, email Peter Blanchard at [email protected].

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CORTLAND, N.Y. – Voices of praise will ring out in Cortland from two guest choirs and two SUNY Cortland ensembles during SUNY Cortland’s 30th African American Gospel Music Festival on Sunday, Nov. 1.

This year’s festival will showcase the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir, two guest choirs, a new SUNY Cortland women’s gospel group, and a soloist.

The concert will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium. A reception in the Dorothea Kreig Allen Fowler ’52, M ’74 Grand Entrance Hall, located in front of the auditorium, will follow. The event is open to the public.

Admission is free for children under 12, $3 for students and $5 for the general public. Free tickets are available to others on a need basis and families are welcome. Proceeds support SUNY Cortland’s Gospel Choir Scholarship and programming funds.

Two returning choirs are Syracuse University’s Black Celestial Choral Ensemble, under the direction of Ashleigh Brown, and the Binghamton University Choir, directed by Stephanie Okpalor.

Proverbs 31 is a female ensemble made up of seven members from the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir that was started last year by Karlene Anderson, a junior childhood education major from Cambria Heights, N.Y.

The SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir is a part of the College’s Africana Studies Department. As it celebrates hosting 30 years of festivals at the College, the choir also has raised more than $88,000 from the campus and community toward a goal of reaching $100,000 in donations for student scholarships.

The musical ensemble is led by Deyquan Bowens, a lecturer in the College’s Africana Studies Department. Bowens of Syracuse, N.Y., joins the choir with experience as a multi-instrumentalist, music director and an entrepreneur, having worked professionally in the music industry for more than a decade.  He has frequently been contracted to accompany or produce music for world-class artists and important figures including, but not limited to, Kirk Franklin, Youthful Praise, Jekayln Carr, Rev. Al Sharpton as well as many outstanding local artists.

Bowens founded Kue Musik Entertainment, a company that provides service in music production, live performance, private lessons and rentals. He currently directs music for The Promise Land Church and the Fellowship A.M.E. Church, both in Syracuse, and the True Vine Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga. via Internet.

Also during the festival, Kadeeja Fredankey, biomedical sciences major from Brooklyn, N.Y., will perform as soloist.

Festival musicians will be Deyquan Bowens on keyboard, Benjamin Terry on percussion and Thomas Carter on bass.

Concert selections from the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir will include “Break Every Chain,” by Tasha Cobbs; “Glory,” by Common and John Legend; “The Anthem,” by William Murphy; “Glory Hallelujah,” by James Hall; and “Nobody,” by Tye Tribbett. Proverbs 31 will present “Same God,” by Tye Tribbett; and “Holy,” by Isreal Houghten.

The choir is supported by the Alumni Engagement Office; Cortland College Foundation; Division of Student Affairs; President’s Office; Educational Opportunity Program (EOP); Multicultural Life and Diversity Office; departments of communication studies and political science; and Student Government Association.

For more information about performances, tickets and special assistance, contact Seth Asumah, SUNY distinguished teaching professor and chair of political science, at 607-753-2064, Deyquan Bowens or Deborah Dintino.

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