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The Virginia State University Gospel Chorale


Simple Bio

Founded in 1971 by Ms. Jackie Ruffin (formerly of the Richard Smallwood Singers) and Mr. Larry Bland as the Larry Bland Gospel Ensemble. The name was later changed to the Virginia State College Gospel Choir. Recorded its first album, "Everyday with Jesus," in 1977. After the success of this album, the choir then recorded a second album, “He’s Able,” in 1978. The choir recorded it’s third CD, “Virginia State University Gospel Chorale: Live in Concert,” in 2003.Has participated off-and-on in a number of competitions. The most notable competition was the National Black Music Caucus Gospel Competition in New York City, where the choir won first place in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1996, and 2003, and second place in 1985 and 2006. Has toured nationally in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, , Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Alabama, Maryland, Connecticut, and Washington, DC. Has toured internationally in U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Europe (Northern and Southern Italy, Hungary, France), performing each time at the Pope’s Vatican Christmas Concert. Has performed on the same stage as gospel-recording artists Cheryl “CoCo” Clemons of R&B group SWV, Mary Mary, Tye Tribbett, Earnest Pugh, Hezekiah Walker, JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise and poet Nikki Giovanni.Made history in September 2012 by competing in How Sweet the Sound, a Verizon experience. Out of the thousands of video entries submitted, the choir was one forty-two choirs, and only one of four college choirs, to compete in the regional competitions around the country. Although the choir did not advance to the grand finale, it would go on to win the 2012 DC Region’s People Choice Award and garner local, regional, and national acclaim. Made history again in January 2013 by being selected to perform at the DC Citywide Interfaith Food Drive, which was part of President Obama’s National Day of Service. This was part of the official Presidential Inauguration Activities.The VSU Gospel Chorale is currently listed under the word "choir" in the Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Additionally, the Chorale is included in two music appreciation textbooks in the gospel music sections.