On Sunday, Oct. 21, Kean Gospel Choir held a free gospel concert to celebrate the release of their first original single "Behold Him", which dropped Friday, Oct. 26 on all digital platforms.
The free gospel concert took place at Agape House of Worship, just 10 minutes away from Kean University to the convenience of the Kean community. Upon entering, attendees were greeted by representatives of the Kean Gospel Choir selling the CDs of their single for $5. Each CD also came with a complimentary water bottle.
As attendees waited for the concert to ensue, everyone chatted among themselves as gospel music played in the background. Many of the guests were family, friends or coworkers of members of the choir and had been eagerly anticipating the song release for some time.
Catherine Gutierrez, junior criminal justice major and vice president of Cru, said, "I'm excited for this event. I heard about it from my friend who is also my coworker. He has been in the Kean Gospel Choir for a while, and I've been trying to make a [Kean Gospel Choir] concert since my freshman year. I'm excited to be here, I'm excited to experience this and I'm excited to be around other people who are also into [gospel music]."
The concert began with a prayer and introduction by guest host and worship minister Matt A. Talley. In his introduction, Talley explained the premise of the single "Behold Him". The song is supposed to be an interpretation of how beautiful heaven will be when people are able to praise God all the time. Talley also went on to list some achievements made by the choir, which includes a feature on Fox 5's "Good Day Street Talk", collaboration with Sons of Serendip and three consecutive wins at the McDonald's Gospelfest. The official release of their single "Behold Him" on Oct. 26 on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora and other digital platforms is just one of the many milestones the group has achieved with their current director and writer of the song, Malcolm Evans.
After the introduction, the Kean Gospel Choir filed onto the stage and began with their first song of the night, "Trust me" by Richard Smallwood & Vision. The upbeat song set the mood for the night as it got everyone to let loose and openly worship God. Some other songs the choir performed included "I Agree" by Jonathan Nelson, "The Blood Still Works" by Malcolm Williams & Great Faith, and the choir's own original single "Behold Him." There was also an energetic performance of "You Deserve It" by feature performer Rich Tolbert during intermission.
Throughout the night the audience was hyped up by the songs and the encouragements of hosts Talley and Kean alumnus and Kean Gospel Choir member, Deonté Griffin-Quick. Attendees were constantly on their feet, dancing, singing and wholeheartedly praising God along with Kean Gospel Choir. The concert eventually ended after a powerful prayer led by Talley for the well-being and success of the choir and Director Evans.
For some students, this concert was their first experience with Kean Gospel Choir.
Lily Agutu, senior studio architect major, was blown away by the performances and said, "This has actually been the first time I've seen [my classmate Keithland,] perform with the choir, even though I've known him for four years, and it's been really amazing. It's definitely more than I thought it would be. It's very uplifting and great to see this side of him because I know he works really hard in architecture, but he also tries to balance it with the choir and choir practices. So, it's really great to see all their hard work pay off."
Other attendees were very familiar with the Kean Gospel Choir and have followed the choir throughout their journey for a while and continue to come back to support the choir.
Cameron Holmes, Class of 2017, said, "The concert was very amazing. I always go to their events and it's always amazing. They always put on a good show. I love it."
Kean Gospel Choir has become an important component to the Kean campus community by bringing everyone together.
Gutierrez said, "Being at this event is led by my faith because I love worshiping and being around other Christians as well. I think it's amazing that [Kean Gospel Choir] is able to get together to showcase their talents and do something they love."
Kean University eagerly anticipates all the future events and accomplishments Kean Gospel Choir has to offer.