On Saturday, the Goshen College choirs performed in South Bend, alongside UZIMA! Drum and Dance Company and nine additional choirs at the Debartolo Center.The event was called ASHE: A Celebration of Voices, and also featured the Pokagon Band Ribbon Town dancers and over 40 individuals from the Michiana area, coming together in a tribute and celebration to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A solo portion was performed by Bongiwe Ncube, a senior biology major at GC and member of Voices of the Earth.
“I think that this was a rich experience for our choirs because we all got to witness how music and dance can be utilized for a positive social change,” Ncube said.
“Joy saturated the workings of the event. Indeed, the palpable joy struck me as a communal resistance against social injustice.”
Feelings of resistance, community, and power were present in those participating. Aysia Adkins, a sophomore music major and member of Voices of the Earth, expressed feeling empowered by the performance.
“This experience was a spiritual one for me because I felt so powerful as a Black woman in that space,” Adkins said. “As I watched the dancers and the singer in UZIMA! and the way they expressed themselves, I felt at home. By the end of the concert, my hands were red and dry from clapping so much and so loudly.”
Many of the members of the choirs expressed that this was also a wonderful experience for them, calling it spiritual and powerful among other names, and forming a sense of belonging.
“Going to South Bend on a Saturday, I was expecting just a concert, but it was absolutely magical,” said Miranda Pfahler, a junior social work major.
“Seeing the different dances and languages involved in the concert was very much a church service. This concert is definitely a highlight of my choir experience.”