Snapshots: From Coast2Coast

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2009 by cdslaughter
Dr. Isaiah McGee.

Dr. Isaiah McGee

Jane' Barrow and Kendrick Williams.

Jane' Barrow and Kendrick Williams inside the Mormon Tabernacle.

A view of the Mormon Temple.

A view of the Mormon Temple.

The race is on at the Speed Zone in Texas.

The race is on at the Speed Zone in Texas.

Scharan Clarke, Justin Rufus, Ashley Moore and Darius Gilliard played instruments during the song "Sorida" during the tour.

Scharan Clarke, Justin Rufus, Ashley Moore and Darius Gilliard played instruments during the song "Sorida" during the tour.

Andre Lemon sings a country song at a restaurant in the desert town of Van Horn, Texas. The karaoke machine had not been used since the choir's last trip out west, about 6 years ago.

Andre Lemon sings a country song at a restaurant in the desert town of Van Horn, Texas. The karaoke machine had not been used since the choir's last trip out west, about 6 years ago.

Members of the choir's stellar recruiting team, Ariel Manning, DeQuincy Atterbury and Nykki Smalls.

Members of the choir's stellar recruiting team, Ariel Manning, DeQuincy Atterbury and Nykki Smalls.

Charlene Slaughter and "Lucy" on Hollywood Boulevard in LA.

Charlene Slaughter and "Lucy" on Hollywood Boulevard in LA.

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Final Stop: Kingsport, Tenn.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2009 by cdslaughter
Claflin alumnus Rev. A. Clark Jenkins.

Claflin alumnus Rev. A. Clark Jenkins.

The final stop on the tour was Kingsport, Tenn., the home of the Eastman Kodak headquarters. The town was kind of small, but big in hospitality. The choir performed at First Broad Street United Methodist Church, located in Church Circle which is — you guessed it — a “circle” of churches in the middle of downtown. The pastor is Rev. A. Clark Jenkins, a 1974 graduate of Claflin Univesrity and recent recipient of an honorary doctorate during this year’s commencement at Claflin. His wife, Mrs. Carolyn Jenkins, is also a 1974 graduate of Claflin and a current member of the Claflin University Board of Trustees.

This stop was a little different as the choir members were hosted by families in the church Saturday night. On Sunday, we were greeted with stories of playing tennis and kayaking and shopping. It was a great experience for both parties. I was extremely grateful for Rev. and Mrs. Jenkins’ hospitality, inviting Dr. McGee and I and our bus drivers, Kevin and Mr. Watson,  to their home for a very much needed home cooked meal and, finally, some SWEET TEA!  Rev. Jenkins got a kick out of the Claflin University bus being parked in his front yard!

The choir performed during four services Sunday before heading back to Orangeburg. I can’t say enough about the Claflin University Concert Choir. The tour was great. We met so many people and introduced them to Claflin University though song. I had never spoken so much about Claflin. I knew things I didn’t even know I knew! We got so many positive responses about the choir members’ manners and politeness. They truly represented Claflin well. As a public relations person, I have to be proud of Claflin to promote its concepts and ideals. However, during this trip, I gained a pride in Claflin University that I didn’t have before. I owe that to Dr. McGee and the 39 members of the Claflin University Concert Choir who invited me on their journey — From Coast to Coast. Thank you — Charlene Slaughter.

The choir sings at the 8:30 a.m. contemporary service at First Broad Street United Methodist Church.

The choir sings at the 8:30 a.m. contemporary service at First Broad Street United Methodist Church.

Scharan Clarke leads the choir in "Kyrie" during the traditional service.

Scharan Clarke leads the choir in "Kyrie" during the traditional service.

Rev. A. Clark Jenkins.

Rev. A. Clark Jenkins.

Rev. Jenkins preaches during the 10:45 a.m. traditional service.

Rev. Jenkins preaches during the 10:45 a.m. traditional service.

Andre Lemon, Jeramiah Douglas, Larry Brunson and Anthony Golden greet their host family after service.

Andre Lemon, Jeramiah Douglas, Larry Brunson and Anthony Golden greet their host family after service.

Rev. Jenkins chats with Justin Rufus, Cole Harper, Ariel Manning, Nykki Smalls and Brandon Hicks.

Rev. Jenkins chats with Justin Rufus, Cole Harper, Ariel Manning, Nykki Smalls and Brandon Hicks.

Dr. McGee and Rev. Jenkins with members of the choir.

Dr. McGee and Rev. Jenkins with members of the choir.

Moutains en-route home!

Moutains en-route home!

“Kyrie”

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2009 by cdslaughter

“In Remembrance”

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2009 by cdslaughter

On our way to the last tour stops in Tennessee, the Claflin University Concert Choir stopped in Nashville for a special treat. The song “In Remembrance” had been a part of the performance repertoire thoughout the tour. In Nashville, the choir met and sang for the composer of that song, Dr. Jeffery L. Ames. Dr. Ames is the director of choral studies at Belmont University in Nashville. He listened intently as the choir sang, and afterward gave the choir members pointers on performing the song.

He then told the choir members the story behind the song. When he lived in Florida, two of his students were killed in a car accident. He told the choir members how he struggled to cope with the pain of that experience, ultimately turning to his music as a way of expression. The song moves from despair to hope and ultimately sends a message that even at our lowest point, God is with us and joy will return.

He told the choir to always sing that song from the heart, because that is where it was born. The choir took his instruction well and sang the song the best it had done the entire tour. We moved on to Knoxville with new impressions of “In Remembrance.” Below is video from the performance in Knoxville where the choir sang Dr. Ames’ song later that day. I think he would be proud — Charlene Slaughter

The choir performs "In Remembrance" for composer Jeffery Ames at Belmont College in Nashville.

The choir performs "In Remembrance" for composer Jeffery Ames at Belmont University in Nashville.

Dr. Jeffery Ames listens as the choir perfoms "In Remembrance." Shannon Morris plays the piano.

Dr. Jeffery Ames listens as the choir perfoms "In Remembrance." Shannon Morris plays the piano.

Dr. Ames gives the choir pointers on performing "In Remembrance."

Dr. Ames gives the choir pointers on performing "In Remembrance."

Dr. Ames conducts the choir.

Dr. Ames conducts the choir.

Expanding One’s Life Experiences

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2009 by ceharper

By Cole Harper

It has truly been a privilege to have been able to go on tour with my choir. Personally, I love to travel. Nothing makes me happier. Experiencing new places, meeting new people, hearing ideals that differ than my own, learning more about that which makes a difference today. I’ve been to the top of Tokyo Tower in Japan, visited the villages overlooking the coasts of Brazil, climbed the Great Wall in China, and now I can say that I’ve ventured to the Western Coast of the US. Being able to enjoy it this time with close friends and choir members made it all the better. We had our ups and downs, of

View from the tour bus.

View from the tour bus.

course, but we were able to make it through, and made us that much closer to one another. I have since forged new friendships and tempered existing ones into something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

During the tour, we spent about 3 days in Texas, be it on the road or at a hotel. I must say that the landscape was quite breathtaking. The rock features and mountainsides were something out a postcard you’d send to a family member. I’d always assumed they were digitally altered or enhanced in some way, but after seeing the natural masterpieces for myself, I was forced to believe otherwise. It was quite something to randomly wake up, look out of the window of a bus, and see a mountain in the distance against a blue sky and a halo of clouds overlooking a ravine. Really cool.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Los Angeles was another highlight of the tour. Having a day to ourselves to just walk up and down Hollywood Blvd at our leisure was pretty cool. Another one of those moments where you’re seeing something in person that you see on TV. Looking down and seeing the stars under your feet, the Wax museum, the buildings with their props and own characteristics…All in all, pretty cool.

We visited the Crystal Cathedral Church in Garden Grove, CA, and I must say that I was in awe. In all honesty, I’m not really one for the church, but I was most definitely moved by the scenery. Beautiful depictions of the Bible lined the walkway towards the Cathedral, which was adorned with glass and the sound of rushing water. In the light, it was truly deserving of the name “Crystal Cathedral.” It was really…peaceful and quiet. Exactly the kind of atmosphere I love. I must say that it was the only time I had on the tour for myself. Apparently, I was walking slightly ahead of everyone else and just took it all in. The inside of the Cathedral was magnificent, and had such an air of grandeur about it. An orchestra was playing there, which made me think of back when I played the viola. For some reason, I missed it the most that day.

We went to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco soon after that, and were once again giving the opportunity to explore. My group and I took the trolley and went into the city for a bit, after having a little too much harmless fun on the Docks, of course!! That was probably the most fun I’d had with a group.

The Mormon Tabernacle was…truly something to witness. I was taken by the mere architecture of the buildings, and the fact that there was a reason for the design. For example, the statues on the buildings all face East because it is believed that is from where Jesus Christ will return. Hearing yet another belief was something I thoroughly enjoyed. We had the chance to sing inside the Chapel, and that was an amazing experience. The acoustics inside of that building are definitely unique. We were told it was because of the dome-shape, but I believed there to be more to it than that. In any case, I’m glad we stopped there to tour.

All in all, this tour was definitely a great experience. It was VERY tiring, and I went a few days on little sleep (mainly my own fault), but Dr. McGee really did a lot for us during this trip, even though most of us gave him a hard time throughout the trip. Jessica and Justin (our tour managers) also deserve just as much credit for having put together something like this, and Ms. Slaughter for having been with us every step of the way making sure that our experiences are known. It was so gratifying  to be able to perform for all those people, not to mention a lot of fun…I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world.

From Coast 2 Coast and Heart 2 Heart

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2009 by karbrown
The Crystal Cathedral

The Crystal Cathedral

The past two weeks have been the highlight of my summer. Not just because of the opportunity to travel across this nation from Coast to Coast, but because of the life lessons that I gained while en route to California. This trip has taught me many things-the most important of these being the values of gratitude and humility. It was inspiring to actually witness and partake in the views and atmosphere in the cities that we visited.
It would be safe to say that all of us basked in the fame and glory of Los Angeles, the wealthy Las Vegas, ‘Cowboy’ -‘Everything is bigger’ Texas…but the most captivating moment for me was at the Crystal Cathedral. I had seen some of the services on TV prior to our tour, but actually being there in person was more captivating. It was as if God in his glory inhabited the Church’s campus. His presence was evident in the church service, the choir, and yes…even the Pipe Organ (ha!) But the beauty in all of it was feeling the catharsis upon leaving the Church that Sunday morning. It was a cleansing experience that all of us needed. Doc especially mentioned how visiting the Crystal Cathedral during his collegiate experience changed him, and I can understand how it would. It was a humbling moment in our tour.
I am appreciative to everyone who helped make our Coast 2 Coast Tour a success. Thank you for each prayer, each donation, and each caring word. The support did not go unnoticed.

And to my fellow CUCC members-
Have a great summer…
If you haven’t heard me say it, I love you…even though we worked each others nerves on a 24/7 basis, lol…
and I look forward to another great year with you guys.

Thank you Doc for the opportunity. OH! and I love you too, lol…

Take care and God bless….Karah J. Brown

Gospel Medley Featuring Andre Lemon

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2009 by cdslaughter