The Voices of Victory choir serves as a unifying force in the University community of St. John’s through the ministry of gospel music.
Organized in 1988, the choir began as a small group of about 10 students who wanted to use music as their source of expression. Today, there are 53 members of the group, which often appears in performances at the Little Theater on campus.
“Gospel music feeds the mind and soul,” said Nigel W. Gretton, director of the Voices of Victory. “It is a positive way of expressing emotions.”
Amar Prashad, a sophomore at St. John’s and the choir’s publicist, emphasizes that Voices of Victory is one of the most active groups in Performing Arts. “I think it’s important that people know we are open-minded and we sing a variety of music which appeals to all groups of people. We don’t always sing songs about Christianity.”
The choir has made appearances as far as Atlanta, Ga., and overseas in Norway. Its songs emphasize a message of love and peace. Voices of Victory has appeared on NBC’s Apollo with performing artist L.L. Cool J. It also has provided opening music for George Foreman on HBO. The group has frequently shared its voices at local churches off campus, in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
During the past year, the choir has sung for the Black Alumni Association dinner, which was held at the Brooklyn Marriot in November. It also sang at the Martin Luther King dinner, held at Marrillac Terrace in January.
Latoya L. White is the choir’s president and is currently a senior. She has been involved with the group for nearly four years and is passionate about singing.
“Although we are a religious based choir, we are open to anyone. We are trying to keep our members very diverse,” she said. White wants people to know that “students don’t have to necessarily sound like Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey to be part of the choir.”
On April 11, the choir will appear in a concert at the Little Theater along with the Jazz Band, Chappell Players Theater Group and Mixed Chorus. On April 27, the gospel choir will have a Spring Anniversary Concert, also at the Little Theater. The anniversary concert will feature dance, poetry and an appearance by another choir, Family of Friends, from Brooklyn.
If you are interested in joining Voices of Victory or in finding more information about it, contact Heidi Chiu in the office of Performing Arts at ext. 6783.