Gospel Choir Rising Octaves

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The University of Olivet’s Gospel Choir has quickly risen to celebrity status on campus in its short time as an ensemble. Admirers rush to take photos and recordings during performances, and the applause at the end of each set is joined with whistles and hoots. There is no doubt that the group of students hold an amazing talent, and that Gospel Choir Director La’Rae Trice is doing an outstanding job leading the choir in a way that showcases the abilities of each student.

The University of Olivet Gospel Choir Director La’Rae Trice.

An accomplished performer herself, gospel music has always been in La’Rae’s life since she began singing in a choir at age 5. Recently, La’Rae and her father even released a gospel album that debuted on Billboard’s Top 25 Gospel Albums. She has also served as the choir director at Tabernacle of David Church for more than 10 years. In her role as The University of Olivet Gospel Choir director, La’Rae serves to grow the choir by developing and recruiting students who share her love of music.

“My favorite part of my job is giving students the opportunity to become more confident,” said La’Rae. “Whether that be singing a solo or increasing performance skills, I love working to develop young talent. I strive to learn each students’ strengths and weaknesses, and mostly, understand and appeal to their connection to the music and their purpose of joining the Gospel Choir.”

Olivet’s Gospel Choir is far from being just an extracurricular activity. It is actually a class students earn credit for taking. This provides a competitive advantage over other colleges’ music ensembles because students are driven to work hard and improve each semester. There is also a scholarship program to assist deserving, gifted students. The choir’s scholarship program provides up to the full need of tuition, fees, room and board. Any student, regardless of major, is welcome to audition for the Gospel Choir, and every student at The University of Olivet receives some form of financial aid, whether that be a talent scholarship or one of many others.

Olive College Gospel Choir (l-r): Safari Manning, Visual Arts major, Freshman; Kristen Johnson, Exercise Science, Freshman; Hezekiah Turner, Music, Freshman; Lakisha Pressley, Criminal Justice, Freshman; Ta’Neeka DeMyers, Music, Freshman; La’Rae M. Trice, Director; and De’Asia Davis, Psychology, Freshman (Not pictured)

In addition to scholarships and grades, students join the Gospel Choir to spread the word of God, connect with the community, explore something larger than themselves, showcase and build their talent, and generally participate in something that makes them happy. La’Rae teaches that the expression of gospel music is malleable. Students must learn to read the performance and audience to deliver the intended message. While knowing your part is important, it is also essential to be free and flexible.

“I’ve always thought The University of Olivet was a very inclusive place,” La’Rae said. “Here, you can express and explore out of the box ideas, while being encouraged to do good to others around you. That type of environments fosters growth and allows students to find their fit in the world around them.”

The University of Olivet Gospel Choir seeks to add several diverse male and female singers, as well as musicians who play the keyboard, electric or bass guitar and drums. Learn more about becoming a student by visiting campus, or contact La’Rae at ltrice@olivetcolelge.edu or 269.749.7693.

Showcase Your Talent

The University of Olivet and Lansing Church of God in Christ (COGIC) are partnering to host a Gospel Talent Show on Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m at Lansing COGIC. The competition is open to groups or soloists ages 5 to 19 who sing, dance, mime, write poetry, play an instrument or have any gift in the gospel arts. First place prize is $500, second place is $250 and third place is $100. Register by April 14 for your chance to enter.

The University of Olivet Gospel Choir will perform with the youth team from Lansing COGIC and be available to speak with you at the event about their experience as an OC Comet.

“Music has always been something that brings people together,” La’Rae said. “Different types of music bring different types of people together, and that’s the mission we are working toward.” Learn more about the Gospel Talent Show or contact La’Rae at ltrice@olivetcolelge.edu or 269.749.7693.


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