Music was in the air at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. during the second annual performance of the 105 Voices of History National Choir on Aug. 30. The choir is made up of one representative from each of the 105 Historically Black Universities and Colleges, including Jackson State University junior music major, Ursula Patrick.
“I was so honored that I was chosen for this great experience,” Patrick said. “I gained so many new friends nationwide, and learned a lot about being a better person to myself.”
The concert was presented by Partners Achieving Success as apart of its HBCU week activitites, and was hosting by syndicated radio host Tom Joyner.
The voices arrived in D.C. on Aug 26 for the week of empowering speeches, luncheons, and singing. Patrick said she was able to gain advice in health awareness, financial wealth, and Leadership.
“We learned that as a race, we cannot use as an excuse that ‘I am black’ to justify our problems,” Patrick said.
Also in attendance was Cortez Castilla, the director of choral activities at Jackson State University. He prepared students from HBCU’s in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee by conducting rehearsals from April through August 2009. He also was the one who selected Patrick for the choir.
“Our student [Urshula] was excellent,” Castilla said. “I chose a student who’s decorum, conduct, and talent represented what was being taught at Jackson State, and Ms. Patrick was that person.”
Also during the week, Patrick was able to not only meet but perform with national recording group, Take 6. The choir practiced with them and was able to talk to them about the music industry’s do’s and don’t’s.
“That whole experience was so fun, and in order to survive in the musical world, networking is essential.”
The choir opened the concert by performing the national anthem with the U.S. Navy Choir, arranged by Dr. Carl Haywood of Norfolk State University. Their show featured songs like Order my Steps, Make A Joyful Noise unto the Lord, Awake the Harp, and a Duke Ellington melody.