FMU’s Young Gifted and Blessed Gospel Choir (YGB) traveled to Chicago on Feb. 26 to sing at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) Coalition.
“We were invited by connections through Jackson,” Kristian Nelson, president of YGB, said. “We had connections with our choir director. I guess through networking, he [Jackson] discovered and wanted us to perform at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.”
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is held annually each February. The goal of the event was to not only focus on civil rights for those of color but civil rights for all. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition tried to bring diversity by having a variety of ages and ethnicities participate for change. Once they had created diversity, PUSH hoped to see peace and justice in the world.
There were 55 YGB members in attendance. The cost to attend was $125 per person.
“You had to raise your own money, but the choir provided sponsorship letters,” Nelson said. “[YGB members] took [sponsorship letters] to their churches or businesses [to] if they could get a sponsorship to help with the money.”
“This was something that nobody has the opportunity to get every day. This was just something that comes once in a lifetime,” sophomore sociology major Alexis Turner said.
Senior English major, Jeffrey Grice added to Turner’s statements.
“This is what our ministry is [about],” Grice said. “It’s a deeper sense of what we were called to do – not just to perform – but to reach out.”
Freshman mass communication major Pervis Walker said that music is beneficial as a ministry.
“Music is a pulse of the human heartbeat,” Walker said. “It’s a universal language. Music has the power to transcend to anything.”
Nelson agreed that music can be a way to express emotions and messages.
“People have different connections to speak to God or to pray to God,” Nelson said. “One outlet is music. Some people can’t pray, some people can’t preach, but [the] Lord knows that they can sing a song. Our main focus is to touch people’s hearts, ears, souls [and] spirits, so they can realize who God is.”
YGB also has members who don’t sing. These members were also needed in Chicago.
“When we have concerts, they are ushers at the door,” Turner said. “At rehearsal, they give words of encouragement. Whenever we have decorations for a concert, they decorate. They make sure everything is in order.”
The choir left for Chicago on Feb. 26 and returned on March 1.