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Gospel Choir to Perform at State’s MLK Observance

The music of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Gospel Choir will ring out across the state capital during New York’s official observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 17.

The choir will be among the featured performers at the event, which will air live from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

The Gospel Choir is composed of students from the United States as well as locations in the Caribbean, Japan, Korea and Africa, to name a few. They join forces with members of the faculty, staff and community to form what is perhaps the most popular performing group on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus, singing and dancing in front of packed concert halls. The group has also taken its show on the road, performing in cities including New York, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and Montreal.

The match between the choir and this event is a good one, according to Gospel Choir Director and Chemistry Professor Dexter Criss.

“Dr. King’s love of gospel music is well documented, and it was gospel music which fueled the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s,” Criss said.

"SUNY Plattsburgh's Gospel Choir has a reputation for inspiring audiences," President John Ettling said. "I have no doubt that the choir's music will provide a fitting accompaniment as the state of New York pays tribute to one of our nation's great leaders."

The choir is proud to have been invited to perform, according to Criss.

“We feel that this invitation acknowledges the hard work and vision of the Gospel Choir here at SUNY Plattsburgh,” he said.

Because the commemoration falls during the college’s winter break, the choir has faced some challenges, however.

“Most of the students are away for winter break, so trying to schedule a rehearsal on campus is tough,” Criss said. “Nevertheless, I’m impressed with the excitement that the choir members have shown as we prepare. Our choir president, Joy Che (a junior nursing major from Fresh Meadows, N.Y.), has been a great motivator and role model. She makes my job easier. In fact, the students are so committed to this that some are traveling up from New York City to Albany on Sunday, Jan 16, for rehearsal then staying overnight for the 9 a.m. service.”

Criss said he feels like King’s dream is alive and well at Plattsburgh.

“The college has consistently fostered an environment that allows organizations like the Gospel Choir to achieve and thrive,” he said.

The State University of New York is co-sponsoring this year’s event. It will air live on television stations around New York and in neighboring states, compliments of SUNY and New York Network.

"SUNY is committed to keeping Dr. King's dream alive by ensuring access to high quality education for students from all walks of life," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "It was Dr. King's dream that all people, especially our children, have the opportunity to reach their full potential, but, as ever, our progress will depend on how we educate our children and prepare the next generation of leaders."

*In Glens Falls and parts of Warren and Washington Counties, the event may be seen on Adelphia Communications channel 71. In Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, it may be seen on Adelphia Communications channel 2. Likewise, in Malone, Potsdam and Massena, it may be seen on Time Warner Cable channel 96.

For complete listings, visit: http://www.suny.edu/Files/sunynewsFiles/Pdf/MLKSatellite.pdf.

*Currently, we cannot find any channels carrying it in the Plattsburgh area. We will send out another notice should we locate one.

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