Gospel choir entertains, enlightens crowd
March 2, 2007
Seventeen years ago Robert Robinson started the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir, which performs 40 to 50 shows a year, including one at UW-River Falls.
On Feb. 22, the choir performed under the direction of Robinson in the North Hall Auditorium in front of a full crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members.
This was the second time in as many years the gospel choir performed at UWRF, but this year was the first time the performance was held in the North Hall Auditorium.
Robinson said the crowd was a lot of fun.
“I love how they play along with me,” Robinson said.
Junior Chad Ronayne saw the choir perform for the first time and said he liked the way the group interacted with the crowd.
“My favorite part of the night was at the end when Robert Robinson had the audience sing the different parts of a worship song,” Ronayne said. “It was funny when he told us to act like a black church for a while. He said that in a black church, people stand, clap their hands and sing ... to praise God.”
The choir that performed at UWRF was a smaller ensemble of about 24 members, but Robinson said when the whole choir is together, there are over 100 participants.
The interactive and fun performances Robinson works to put together is one of the reasons so many people decide to join.
Joy Smiley has been in the choir for six years and performed here last year, but this year she was just getting over laryngitis and therefore was unable to sing.
“I heard them sing at about six concerts and I couldn’t stay in my seat,” said Smiley, commenting about her decision to join the ensemble. “It’s like a family. Everyone just supports each other. It’s more than just singing.”
UWRF student Erik Wood was in the audience on Feb. 22 and said he has attended the performances of the gospel choir the last two years.
“The gospel choir this year was composed of many new members that were not present last year,” he said. “I liked Randy, of course; he puts American Idol to shame.”
The choir’s performance had a way of helping ease some students’ minds.
“This year’s show was very exciting, energetic and uplifting,” Ronayne said. “I came Saturday night with a lot of stuff weighing me down, and by the end of the night, most of those burdens just disappeared.”
While the choir sings religious songs, it doesn’t matter what background you come from. There are people who are Catholic, Jewish, pretty much every denomination, Smiley said.
Throughout the course of the performance, which lasted a little over an hour, Robinson talked about topics that pertain to students. Robinson said he would love to come back.
“I definitely felt the presence of God that night,” Ronayne said. “And [I] think they brought a great message to a public university.”