Gospel Music has its roots in Jazz, Country, Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Popular music. The Gospel Music Ensemble students will gain a better understanding of these musical styles, learn about the important historical aspects of this vocal and instrumentally inspired genre, and gain an informed appreciation for Gospel Music as a legitimate musical art form. Contemporary Gospel incorporates many familiar chord progressions, pentatonic scales, and syncopated rhythms. It also typically uses forms of Call and Response in not only the teaching and passing on of this music but also in the performances.
Many of the pioneers of Gospel Music; Thomas A. Dorsey, James Cleveland, and Edwin Hawkins, were outstanding pianists, conductors, and vocalists. Students will learn about these composers as well as the historical context and musical inspiration behind each composition. The strength of the ear, being able to hear and remember musical parts is an important skill set for this ensemble.
Vocalists and instrumentalists are expected to play along with these two tracks and have both songs memorized.