Choir and Jazz Ensemble Spreading Glorious Sounds
The Texas Southern University Choir and Jazz Ensemble are working hard to embrace and build a reputation of excellence within the greater Houston community. Under the direction of second-year director, Dr. Roy L. Belfield, Jr., the choir is definitely on the move. Recently, following an invitation to perform at the 128th session of the United Supreme Council, 33, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Prince Hall Affiliation, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A. at the Hyatt Hotel downtown Houston, the choir was presented with a check for $10,000 by Dr. Deary Vaughn, 33 Sovereign Grand Commander, to assist them with their recruitment, performances, and scholarship endeavors.
“To be asked to perform at the event was special, but to be surprised with a $10,000 check was an unexpected blessing and one that I could not have imagined for our students,” said Dr. Belfield. “This special gift will provide more flexibility in terms of scholarship assistance and help us with our upcoming travel plans.”
Dr. Belfield, who has taught music for the past 20 years – most recently at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, has brought a renewed vision to the choir. First on Dr. Belfield’s list is to make the Texas Southern University Choir and Jazz Ensemble a brand name within the city of Houston, known for its artistry, expressiveness, and versatile repertoire. Once their reputation is solid within the greater Houston area, they plan to travel to other areas of the state and country to recruit students to the University. Currently, there are 28 students in the choir with 20 receiving scholarships. Dr. Belfield’s goal is to have approximately 40 students in the TSU choir.
The choir is putting in the necessary work to produce the type of results that it hopes to achieve. Their repertoire includes traditional choral literature, spirituals, gospel music, and other contemporary works. For the University community, the choir performs at both fall and winter commencement ceremonies, Founder’s Day, and other special programs that bring dignitaries or heads of state to campus, i.e. His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, who visited for Student Appreciation Day to kick off Homecoming 2014. The choir does not compete officially against other choirs, but they do perform fall and spring concerts at local churches.
“Positive relationships with churches are going to be critical to our success,” Dr. Belfield noted. “We perform at churches when invited. It is where we find our alumni, recruit students, and receive community support.”
Senior and bass section member Terry Small quickly points out that while they perform at churches they are much more than a church choir. “We are trained, skilled singers that provide a variety of musical flavors for our audiences. Our rehearsals are intense and we are constantly being challenged to make sure that we know our music and can maintain our individual parts. Being a member of the choir requires just as much time and commitment as it does to be in athletics or in the band.”
The TSU Choir will perform with the Prairie View A&M University Choir on Sunday, March 8th, also at Brentwood Baptist Church.
“There seems to be a bright future ahead for the choir. I’ve got a lot of good spirited young adults who are striving for excellence,” Dr. Belfield added.
Anyone interested in inviting the choir for a performance or for more information, please contact Dr. Roy L Belfield, Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or (713) 313-7363.