The Music Center
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sojourner truth choir

Soujourner Truth Gospel Choir singers
testimony from a member of Sojourner Truth Choir

Speech by Jesse Love, Sojourner Truth Student at June 7th performance.  Jesse will be a senior at Battle Creek Central High School.

For the past couple of decades there has been a name that is highly esteemed throughout the community and abroad. That name is the Sojourner Truth choir. Under the direction of Ms. Pauline Norris, the great accompaniment of Mrs. Jeannette McKenzie, and the leadership of Mrs. Carolyn Ballard, the choir has flourished and continues to be a name recognized as one of the best around. That process did not take place overnight, but took a lot of praying, fasting, and going to God about the choir by people directly and indirectly associated with the choir. The amount of dedication and hard work is rare to find in our society today than ever. However, Ms. Norris enforces in us every chance she gets, the necessity to work hard and dedicate ourselves to what we are passionate about, both in the choir and outside of the choir.

Over the past years of being in the choir, I have grown immensely with the help of those three women. The environment they create, is one conducive to and open for growth. By demanding the utmost respect from each and every one of us, they teach us life lessons that will last us forever and is more precious than anything the world has to offer.

Wednesday from 4-6:30, is a time for us to come together on a common ground and sing to the glory of God. That's not to say that each rehearsal is perfect, because it isn't; and we are dealing with a bunch of seven and eight year olds. Despite the bumps in the road that we encounter, we are thought to travail to obtain what God has for us because it must come to pass.

To be able to be a part of such a great group is both a blessing and an honor. The harmonious melodies that we sing can be songs that we use to get through tough times. Our ages range from 4-18 currently in the choir and to think we don't have battles we have to fight is ridiculous at best. The pessimism that can heap itself upon us by parents, classmates, and even ourselves is enough to make any person snap and break under the weight. However, Ms. Norris has embedded in our DNA that we can do all things through Christ. We have been told over and over again, time after time, that we are destined for greatness and we are all achieving great things already. As a whole we have sung in numerous venues for a vast amount of people, ranging from Bishop Desmond TuTu, to Jackie Joyner Kersee, Governor Jennifer Granholm, and even the Harlem Boy Choir of New York. Our fearless director has received loads of awards for her hard work and dedication in nourishing us to be the best we can be. In an interview, Ms. Norris said, "I try to teach them all that I can to help them believe in themselves and to sound good."  We have that incorporated into each one of rehearsals and performances.

We have in our choir, children who have successfully moved from elementary school to middle school - from middle school to high school, and from high school to preparing to go to college. We have members who get all A's and are some of the most intelligent kids in our city. We have athletic children, as well as creative students. Our choir is comprised of students who have dedicated every fiber of their being to doing well in all their endeavors, thanks to the influence of the choir.

As I look out today at a choir that has assisted in shaping and molding me, I see our future. Our future pastors, recording artists, directors,,teachers, principals, athletes, doctors, lawyers, astronauts, soldiers, and maybe even our next president, sit before us now as the Sojourner Truth choir.

As I get ready to graduate from high school next year and go into college, moving to the next phases of my life, I will never forget this choir and the job it has done shaping me into a man of greatness. As I move down the road, I will never forget that I am a child of destiny and greatness is resident within me. In the face of adversity, I can stand back and remember death has no power over me.

As I take my seat, I would just like to say thank you for investing so heavily into our lives and helping to allow our greatness to manifest. For we are the future of tomorrow, here today.


Sojourner Truth Choir rehearses on Wednesday evenings at the Music Center. Call the Music Center at 269.963.1911, option 2, for information on IMPACT classes

There is no cost to join or to sing in the choir, or to participate in IMPACT classes.

Sojourner Truth Choir and IMPACT are made possible through the generosity of individuals like you. Click here to donate online.



Battle Creek Girls Chorus director

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