“Ain’t gonna let nobody… isolation… denigration… injustice, turn me around. I’m gonna keep on a-walkin’, keep on a-talkin’, marchin’ up to freedom land!” sang the Voices of the Earth choir as they performed the iconic civil rights movement song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” during the King Convocation on Monday. 

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy, the choir also sang two other selections: “Ndandihleli” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

According to H. Roz Woll, assistant professor of music and director of Voices of the Earth, “Ndandihleli” is “an anti-apartheid song that was transformed in the international struggle against HIV to amplify the work of those organizing for public health.”

“The committee thought that it could be a way to honor Bishop Desmond Tutu, who just passed on Dec. 26,” she said.

Lisa Nalliah, a third-year environmental science student and member of Voices of the Earth, shared her thoughts regarding the choir’s diverse repertoire: “That is why I was drawn to Goshen College and the Voices of the Earth choir – we sing songs that are different and embrace other cultures that have gone unnoticed, especially in the [United States].” 

Fatima Rhana, a first-year theater and music major and member of Voices of the Earth, noted her experience. 

“When I heard Dr. Vilna speak, I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself, something beautiful,” said Rhana. “Then I learned that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came here when he was touring the country in 1960. I think it’s so amazing that we’re keeping [his legacy] alive ever since then.”

After the keynote presentation by Dr. Vilna Bashi Treitler, the choir performed “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” to conclude the gathering. 

Dr. King’s message of hope filled the church-chapel halls as the choir sang the arrangement’s repeating chorus: “There’s a better home awaiting, if we try Lord, if we try….” 


Upcoming Voices of the Earth performances include:

Winter Choral Concert: Feb. 12th, 7:30 pm Sauder Concert Hall. $8, reserved seating.