MC's Voices of Praise gospel choir to perform in Tennessee and Alabama

April 3, 2003
Written by: David Rasnake, Communications Assistant

Voices of Praise, Maryville College’s gospel choir, soon will be performing in churches in Chattanooga, Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala., as part of a weekend spring tour of the southeast. The choir will depart the campus April 25 and return April 27.

Voices of Praise (or “VOP” as the choir is known on campus) is scheduled to perform at Chattanooga’s Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church on Friday, April 25, in a 7 p.m. worship service.

Other concerts are planned for Birmingham’s Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on April 26 (7 p.m. concert) and Huntsville’s Heritage Baptist Church on April 27, when the choir will perform during the 10:30 morning worship and a 3 p.m. service.

Traditionally, VOP members perform on short worship tours in both the fall and the spring, with occasional longer outings taking the group as far as Miami in recent years. This year’s 35-member group will give four performances along the tour route, and organizers are also planning a visit to the Civil Rights Institute and Museum in Birmingham.

Founded over a decade ago by current director and MC alumnus Larry Ervin, VOP was formed to “give minorities pride in an aspect of their culture,” according to Ervin, who also serves as MC’s director of multicultural affairs. Under his guidance, VOP, composed primarily of MC students, has grown to represent “all facets of the school’s population,” bringing an eclectic mix of praise music to every performance.

Pieces scheduled for this spring’s tour are no exception, providing a number of traditional gospel favorites as well as praise and worship standards, and innovative hip-hop gospel selections. Featured are works by artists Kirk Franklin and Richard Smallwood.

In addition to the choir, VOP showcases the abilities of several talented musicians, including Ervin’s brother, Leonard, on guitar and bass, Clarence Wells on drums, Rev. Gary Peacock, father of a VOP choir member, on keyboards, and a three-piece horn section.

The concerts are free and open to the public.

For more information on VOP, contact Larry Ervin at 865.981.8222 or larry.ervin@maryvillecollege.edu.