The 45-member Bluffton Gospel Choir was formed in fall 2010 by Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle, an assistant professor of music at the university. About half of its members are Bluffton students; the others are faculty and community members.
"I am very excited about introducing the Bluffton University Gospel Choir to the community and sharing the music that is such an important part of my life," she says. "Starting this choir has been so rewarding. I see the members not only excited about embracing this style of music but also enjoying their time singing together."
There are no auditions for the group, which practices weekly in the Mosiman Hall Gilliom Room.
Battle, who first came to Bluffton as a visiting assistant professor, earned her master's degree and her doctorate, both in performance, from Roosevelt University in Chicago and The Ohio State University, respectively. She is continuing her doctoral research on developing a healthy singing method for gospel singers, whom she says are prone to voice and throat problems due to the "full-tilt" effort they give.
Now working on a textbook on the teaching of gospel singing, she says her research factored into university and music department interest in formation of the new choir. "It wasn't a really long process," says Battle, who hopes the group will attract prospective gospel singers from the area and provide a setting where they can connect.