USC Gospel Choir & Chosen Ensemble Choir with Dr. Carl Wells singing "Wade in the Water"
Arrangement by Dr. Carl Wells
( 4min 17sec )

The USC School of Music and the African American Studies Program presented a Festival of Spirituals concert at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, in the School of Music recital hall, 813 Assembly St.

The concert, organized by the USC gospel choir class, now in its second semester, included traditional gospel music and a choral arrangement of spirituals. The class choir sang and selected student music majors performed solo arrangements of well-known spirituals.

“African-American music was rarely art for the sake of art,” said Carl Wells, gospel class instructor. “If you think about slaves in the field, they weren't just singing, they were singing to make the day go better, for survival. It becomes a way of helping voice what people are experiencing, but it also connects them to a God who helps them in the midst of their struggles.”

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Tony McLawhorn, Department of History