A New Harmony

Rutgers–Camden’s first gospel choir established on campus

By Andin Ncho CCAS’20

Monday evenings in the Mallery Room in the Fine Arts Building commence with warm greetings and boisterous laughter—defining characteristics of the weekly Rutgers–Camden Gospel Choir rehearsals. Once the liveliness settles down, harmonious student voices echo down the halls, accompanied by the strumming of guitars and tapping of piano keys.

This welcoming community of singers and musicians encapsulates the vision of Dionne Fields, director of the choir and a part-time lecturer of music who led the creation of the gospel choir in 2018. “The purpose of the gospel choir is to bring encouragement, joy, and to be uplifting—to not only the students—but to everyone who comes to our concerts,” Fields said.

Montrell Sanders, a master of public policy student from Palatka, Florida, is one of more than 15 students who have joined the choir. “The Rutgers–Camden Gospel Choir is a space to join together with friends and make great music that encompasses something bigger than all of us,” Sanders said. “It’s a great refuge from the hectic life of a student.”

The choir became a credit-offering course in spring 2019 and performed its first concert that semester. Since then, the choir has gone on to perform multiple concerts and engagements at the university. The choir also appeared on Philadelphia television, performing on a PHL17-TV morning show.

Fields, a 2012 graduate of Rutgers–Camden’s music program who went on to earn a master’s degree in music education from Boston University, plans to continue accepting engagements for the choir, both on campus and throughout the region. “I really want the gospel choir to bring joy to the campus and beyond to provide an outlet where members can just come and enjoy themselves,” she said.

Music technology major Haashim Miller, a junior from Camden, enjoys singing with the group. “It is a wonderful experience and any student who loves to sing should join,” he said.

Andin Ncho, a member of the Rutgers–Camden Gospel Choir, is a senior with a triple major in English, digital studies, and global studies who will graduate in May.

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