The roof was raised recently when the RWU Chorus and the Prism of Praise Community Gospel Choir gathered in the University’s Global Heritage Hall for an evening of soul-stirring gospel music. The students, led by Chorus Director Jonathan Richter, enthusiastically performed three numbers before Prism of Praise, one of the real treasures of the Ocean State, took the stage for an hour of truly uplifting music, which had the whole place singing, swaying, and enjoying fellowship. The remarkable event occurred due to the efforts of Deborah Johnson, the terrific Director of Diversity and Outreach at the law school and some key colleagues from across the university (a shout out to Nancy Soukup and Carolyn Tidwell, who rocked the house as lead singer on “O, Happy Day”).
Prism is headed by Michael Evora, a lawyer who heads the state Commission for Human Rights, and features 35 members from across the state ranging from age 25 to 70. They have performed at a remarkable array of venues, including the Adult Correctional Institute (the state prison) and First Night Providence. Michael began by explaining the history of gospel as a unique American form of music, and its primary focus: providing hope, and then led his group with a passion not usually displayed by folks who have “Esquire” after their name!