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ONU Celebrates 20 Years of Gospel Music

Apr 11, 2007

Ohio Northern University's Gospel Ensemble will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a reunion weekend and anniversary concert at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 21 in the ONU Chapel.

Ensemble alumni will meet Friday, April 20 to prepare for the concert and celebrate the organizations legacy of music.

Adriane Thompson-Bradshaw, dean of students, and director of the ensemble since its inception, says the ensemble began in 1987 by African-American students who wanted to share their heritage of contemporary gospel music. The group's first performance was in January, 1988, at the university's Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration worship service. The first full concert was presented in the spring and continues to be a tradition for this all-volunteer group.

Gospel Ensemble members include students, faculty and staff who enjoy contemporary gospel music, much of which is sung a cappella. In addition to the spring concert, members of the ensemble travel to area churches several weekends per month sharing their musical message. Over the years, the ensemble has performed hundreds of concerts at more than 50 churches. And, says Thompson-Bradshaw, the make up of the ensemble has changed to reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of the campus.

She explains, "The music we sing is in African-American style and tradition, but the participants have been from many racial and ethnic backgrounds and the music has been shared with diverse audiences. It has challenged audiences and provided an opportunity for informal education. Music, especially gospel music, has a way breaking down barriers and defenses and allowing people to relate to one another."

Recordings of the ensemble's concerts were produced on both the tenth and fifteenth anniversaries. Both a video and audio recording will be produced at the 20th anniversary.

The April 21 concert is free and open to the public. It will close with the ensemble's traditional benediction, Salvation and Glory. To learn more, contact Thompson-Bradshaw at (419) 772-2433 or e-mail

Ohio Northern University is a leading private, student-centered institution that blends quality professional programs with the arts and sciences to more than 3,500 students in its five colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Pharmacy and Law.