Making a joyful noise through song and dance

The Afro-American Gospel Choir performs their 45th Anniversary Concert at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on April 24, 2016. Hamilton native George Walker can be seen near the middle, directly to the left of the microphone. He organized the concert, which was a huge success. Walker was the 13th member to join the AAGC in 1971. The choir was established in August and he joined in September. He also led songs and did some directing.

Written By Cynthia Moore
AAGC adviser

Submitted By Katherine Baxter and Dr. Jesmond Fair
AAGC alums

TUSCALOOSA — In the summer of 1971, a group of 12 African American students at the University of Alabama entered a talent show sponsored by the Afro-American Association. They chose to sing a gospel song representative of the source of their faith.
During the following fall, some 40 to 50 other students joined the original 12 to form what today is known as the Afro-American Gospel Choir. During its inaugural year, the choir performed concerts in various cities throughout Alabama.
Music and dance have always been a powerful force for healing and spiritual upliftment. As such, in 2008, the AAGC expanded to include ministry through dance known as His Instruments of Praise.

campus presence
 Since their inception, the “Afros,” as they are affectionately called, and HIP have had a powerful presence on The University of Alabama campus and throughout the southeastern U.S.
They have furthered their notoriety by becoming award-winning ministries among colleges in the National Baptist Student Union Retreat.
The ministries’ travels enable them to interact with students at other institutions, represent their own institution and provide support and encouragement for one another.
The choir was founded on the principle of togetherness and inclusion and has provided members to overcome difficulties through faith in God. Membership in the choir is open to all students on campus.

Beacon of
resilience and unity
Established as the second oldest African-American organization on campus, AAGC is a beacon of resilience and unity on UA’s campus and holds a profound significance that extends far beyond its musical performances.
They engage in volunteer projects, benefit concerts, morning worship services, annual Unity concert with Auburn’s Gospel Choir, and provide music for historical events such as the annual memorial of Bloody Sunday in Selma.
Generations have found solace and a sense of belonging within its ranks, with parents who are alumni of the choir sending their children to continue the legacy.

comfort each other
As with any musical group, extensive rehearsals are necessary for members of the AAGC and HIP to perform at their best. The lengthy practice sessions, combined with the choir’s frequent weekend travel, lead members to spend countless hours together every week.
For this reason, the choir has become a place where members can find comfort while away from family and friends.
According to those involved with the AAGC, the family bond, home and safe space within the choir is the perfect remedy for the ups and downs of college life that students sometimes encounter.

Moore is longest-serving advisor
The University of Alabama Alumni Association has a cherished saying, "When Momma calls, answer." And for the alumni members of the Afros, when the choir’s longest-serving adviser, Cynthia Moore, calls, they answer without hesitation.
This unwavering commitment is evident whenever the current choir faces challenges or needs support. The alumni rally together, providing assistance to ensure that the choir continues to thrive and inspire.

Lasting impact, shining example
The Afro-American Gospel Choir and HIP serve as a testament to the enduring power of music, community and legacy.
Through their heartfelt performances and unwavering dedication, they have created a lasting impact on The University of Alabama’s campus and beyond.
They stand as a shining example of how a shared passion for music can foster a sense of belonging, uplift spirits and create a lasting legacy


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