The Count Basie Center Gospel Choir will be led by the great Gwen Moten, who worked with the United Nations and was appointed Cultural Ambassador by President Bill Clinton! Anyone 16+ can audition.

Auditions take place in December and it's completely free to join, but you must audition. Here are the details:

Auditions will be virtual for all voices: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. They will take place on Sat., Dec. 12th and  Sat., Dec.19th between 10 am and 2 pm. You must register in advance in order to get an audition slot. CLICK HERE and scroll to the bottom to sign up.

If you are interested, you will need to submit a music resume, headshot (photo), one solo vocal selection for the audition, and an optional video link to Youtube or Vimeo.

This choir is a new project headed by Music Director Gwen Moten and Assistant Music Director Dr. B. Dexter Allgood. Gwen has received multiple appointments throughout the years from the U.N. to the White House and beyond.

Photo of Ms. Gwen Moten courtesy of Dr. Lucy Chen

She believes that the Basie Gospel Choir will be an engaging cultural and artistic offering for our community and beyond. The non-profit Count Basie Center's mission, after all, is to engage cultural and artistic offerings that reflect the diversity of the region.

Dr. Allgood, the assistant music director, is Minister of Music at Canaan Baptist Church in NYC. He says that with proper leadership, vocalists will learn discipline and techniques like breathing, phrasing, and blending with other voices, along with a challenging and rewarding repertoire.

If ever we could use a gospel choir, it's now, after months of dealing with a pandemic, protests, and politics. Dr. Lucy Chen, who heads of the Basie's Academy School of Music, reminds us that singer Yolanda Adams has called gospel music the sound of peace, recognizing its power to inspire people to persevere. Dr. Chen says,

"Throughout history, gospel choirs have come to represent so many human emotions, providing comfort in time of sadness and joy during moments of celebration."

Once the choir is formed, it will perform at events in and around our community, including on stage at The Basie Center Theater and the Basie's newest performance space, The Vogel.

For more info, call 732-224-8778 ext. 125.

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