East Carolina University 

       Gospel Choir

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The East Carolina University Gospel Ensemble was founded in the fall semester of 1978 by Johnice Johnson, a dedicated member with a vision for the choir.  She received help from Ronzell Bell, Everett Cannon, and Lawyer Crawford as directors.  The ensemble sang for various campus events, local churches, and schools.  The following year, Johnice Johnson graduated and turned over the reign of the ensemble to Crawford and Bell, as pianist and director. 

Through 1980-1981, Bell and Crawford saw the ensemble grow from 20 voices to 45 voices, which caused the ECU Gospel Ensemble to change their name to the East Carolina University Gospel Choir.  In 1983, Gregory Horton became the head musician and in 1985, he became the director as well. Under Horton's leadership the choir grew to almost 100 strong voices

In 1994, Adrienne Calhoun became the new directress.  Her unique style and character encouraged the choir to explore new avenues of worship and praise.  Later that year, Nikki Bennett and the late Darnell Armstead, two student directors, shared the responsibility of directing.  

In the fall semester of 1995, Debra Dixon, a gospel-recording artist from New York, accepted the position as director.  The anointing she bought with her lifted the choir to an even higher level of worship.  

In the fall of 1999, Tara Worrell was appointed the position of director.  In spring 2002, upon Worrell's graduation, Jermaine Johnson was appointed director.  Johnson also bought energy, style and a new level of worship to the choir.  After Johnson's graduation, Zandria Bridges was appointed director of the choir.  Under her direction, the choir grew to about 60 members.

The choir was directed by Dorthea L. Taylor, an ECU alumnus with a Masters degree in sacred music until 2007.  Under Taylor's direction, the choir has added many styles of gospel music to its repertoire, including spirituals, anthems, traditional, and contemporary gospel. 

In 2007 Joey Harrison and Timothy Brown served as interim directors until permanent directors, Min. Yolanda Henderson and Min. Arturo Cummings were selected.  In 2008, Tara Worrell returned as choir director.  Under her leadership the choir continued to minister in song.  Many worship songs were added to the repertoire.  The choir opened for Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Kirk Franklin under her direction. 

In the Spring of 2010 there was a new face and direction introduced to the ECU Gospel Choir but not to the university, Quentin Powell, a graduate student of the School of Music at ECU at the time and an alumnus of Elizabeth City State University (BA-Music,BA-English), joined as our director.  He began to work on broadening the choir's musical repertoire as well as overall sound. He continued through the Fall of 2010 and the ECU Gospel Choir accelerated to an extreme level with promise!

In the Spring of 2011, Quentin Powell moved on to the Longy School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts to continue his dream of becoming a well-rounded opera singer. The choir was truly became a student ran organization with direction from Quentin Powell, Graduate of ECU and 2nd degree student. Trumane Lee then lead the choir. Trumane offered a new, fresh energy to the choir that semester. The choir moved to higher heights never expected and God truly blessed.

In the Fall of 2011, Dorthea Taylor returned to the choir for one semester. She wanted to unite with the choir again and she had the opportunity to do so that semester. As before when she directed the choir, she continued to take the choir into different types of sacred Gospel, as this was her background! 

Dorthea parted the choir at the end of the Fall 2011 semester and in the Spring semester of 2012, the choir's new director was Michael Melvin. He was once the head musician of the choir before leaving in the Fall of 2007. He returned to the choir because he felt it was his calling to be in this ministry and bond with the organization. With Mike, the choir has done extremely well!! God is continuing to strengthening the choir and it's ministry!  

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Achievements and Honors

v  Recorded first LP entitled "Land and Glory" in 1987, produced and written by Gregory Horton.

v  Recorded second live album in 1991 entitled, "Standing in the Need of Prayer", written and produced by Gregory Horton.

v  Performed with various artists such as the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, Reverend Timothy Wright, Richard Smallwood, Kirk Franklin, Myrna Summers, John P. Kee and others.

v  Six members sang background for the gospel musical, "Child Support", a Davis Payton production.

v  The first featured artist on Inspiration Across America.

v  Featured guest on CD-TV Ayden, NC.

v  Appeared in concert with the NC Jazz Symphony and the NC Jazz Repertory Orchestra.

v  Sung for Music Day at Walt Disney World

v  The choir has also sung with Maurette Brown Clark.

v  In concert with Vicki Winans and Vanessa Bell Armstrong.

v  Most Outstanding University Choir award at the Wahl Joe People's Choice Awards, Winston-Salem, NC.

v  Most Outstanding University Choir award at the Southern Music Convention, Greenville, NC.

v  Bertie County DSS Relay for Life Team First Runner up for The Battle of the College/High School Choirs

v  Opened concert for Vanessa Bell Armstrong in September of 2008

v  Opened concert for Kirk Frankln in October of 2008

v  Song for and with Donald Lawrence in September of 2011