The University of Mississippi Gospel Choir (UMGC) celebrated its first concert of the semester at Tallahatchie-Oxford Missionary Baptist Association on Saturday. The performance focused on the theme “A Season of Miracles, Signs & Wonders.” The concert featured guest artists C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence and Bishop Zedric Clayton.
Clayton was choir director Jasmene Mitchell’s bishop from Clarksdale, or “The City of Truth,” and was there to help lead worship.
“I brought someone in that I felt like could basically shift the atmosphere and be able to reach people whenever we weren’t on stage and be able to take full control of the momentum of the concert,” Mitchell said.
The concert was free to the public, but, because of the expenses, the group ran a fundraising campaign through crowdfunding platform Ignite Ole Miss. The group raised $3,269 out of a $7,300 goal.
The campaign is the largest one the choir has had since the group’s Grammy nomination 20 years ago.
The theme was curated by Mitchell, who has served as director since last semester. Mitchell has been with the choir for the last year and wanted her first concert with the group to be meaningful. The theme was focused on the group’s mission and purpose.
“You think of God, (and) he’s a miracle worker. He’s a waymaker. He’s everything that you could only believe and the reason why faith exists.” Mitchell said. “This is a new season, a new semester and a season of miracles, signs and wonders.”
Mitchell knows that gospel has transformed into a more modern form and aims to implement it more into the choir’s performances to further reach the hearts of those that hear them sing.
The group furthers its outreach into Oxford’s community through work with Boys and Girls Club, which encourages children to continue their education.
“Our mission is to minister the Word of God through songs and praises and to allow kids on this campus a place to express themselves,” President Makayla Scott said. “It is a place where they can feel safe with other people who are just like them and just come together as one.”
The UMGC is continuously growing and accepts new members at the start of every semester.
“Come as you are, which allows for a diverse group of people who inevitably love Jesus, but they may showcase it in different ways,” Chief of Staff André Smith said.
The UMGC will perform at 7:30 p.m on Nov. 7 with Ole Miss Wesley Foundation and will have future performances this semester that will be advertised on their Facebook page.