Thursday, May 30, 2024

Guest performs gospel

Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir will host their 25th anniversary celebration concert, “GospelFest,” in the Giltz Auditorium in Hawkins hall.

Planning for the event began two years ago, but the choir started discussing the event at their 20th reunion choir director Andrea Ogle said.

“We didn’t want to wait to the 30th. Ten years was too long,” she said. “Because we have so many students, if we waited that long we would have hundreds of students and five years is long enough to wait.”

The committee for the event and the Alumni group started meeting over the summer. Members of the choir worked with the alumni office, but Facebook played a huge part in the connection process Ogle said.

Ogle said the choir has a Facebook page for fans but also has a group for active members to help promote their events and stay connected.

“We have a group for alumni and friends of the choir, too, and after students graduate or aren’t active members anymore, we usually switch them over to that group, ” she said. “We been reaching out to many people through that.”

The performance was originally going to feature an act from Japan, but when that fell through, the group was on the hunt for a headliner.
Choir director Andrea Ogle suggested Sheila Raye Charles.

Ogle opened up for Sheila Raye Charles’ performance at the Community Bible Church in south Burlington with her praise team over the summer. Ogle reached out to contacts in Vermont who gave me her contact information for Charles.

“I just thought let’s see what we can do,” she said. “I reached out to her, and she remembered me and said, ‘Absolutely, Andrea,’ and she was excited about it.”

From reaching out to the Sheila Raye Charles’ manager to working with the musicians, Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir art director and associate chemistry professor Dexter Criss has been involved with nearly every aspect of planning the event.

Criss said song selection for the show was difficult because the choir has performed over 300 songs in the last 25 years.

The second half will feature performances from the praise team, praise dancers and step dancers followed by a performance from Charles.

Criss said the gospel choir’s band is excited to play alongside Charles during the performance. The choir and committee were ecstatic when they were told that Charles will be performing.
This year will be the choir’s third alumni reunion. Criss said the first took place in 2008, and they celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2011.

The choir has a facebook page for fans but also has a group for active members Ogle said. She said they’ve been able to keep in close contact with many alumni through the site.

There will be approximately 100 alumni in attendance and the number grows everyday and around 50 alumni will be performing with the active Gospel choir during the show, Criss said.

“This has really been like a family, we’ve been through so much,” she said. “There’s so much stability and community there, the memories that are good and bad, that’s why the members of the choir that graduate have such an affinity for it,” she said.

PSUC junior finance major Lexi Murray first encountered the choir last semester during their “Soulful Christmas” performance.

“My roommate was bugging me to go, and I figured, ‘Why not, what else am I going to do?’” she said. “And I’ve been a huge fan ever since.”

Murray said just by watching the group perform, you can tell how much they truly enjoy what they are doing.

“There just seems to be so much love and happiness on stage,” she said. “They’re already amazing but that makes the show that much better.”

Ogle said attendees should prepare themselves to be inspired.

Tickets will be $8 in advance and $10 at the door for students. General admission will be $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets are available at the Angell College Center desk, Advance Music Center, Christian Supply Center at First Assembly of God, The Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir office and online at

“Come with an empty heart that’s ready to be filled,” she said.

Email Madison Winters at

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