The History of Gospel Choirs United
In 1974 Sam Davis with Zion Baptist Churchs Inspirational Choir and Phyllis Williams with Sabathani Baptist Churchs Pastors Chorus join together to form a new choir. The Choir performed in 1974 and again in 1975. The fellowship was indeed inspirational.
In 1976 Carl Walker and the Mount Olivet Celestial Choir joined them to form what was then called Gospel Choirs Unlimited, with the belief that an unlimited number of choirs would eventually be invited to join in. In 1980 Vera Jean Jenkins with North Centrals Angelic Choir, and Donnell Smith with New Hope's Adult Choir united musical minds to make the perfect union of what is now known as Gospel Choirs United (GCU).
Other choir participants over time included Pilgrims Choir under the direction of J. D. Steele, Church of God in Christ Mass Choir under the direction of Robert Eddie Robinson, Redeemer Choir, under the direction of Sam and Belinda Davis, Free At Last Choir, under the direction of Tanabe Gatlin, Greater Friendship under the direction of Gezelle Carr then Greg Washington, Wayman AME Choir, under the direction of Betty Webb.
The choirs first album was recorded at the Lindquist Chapel, produced and directed by Herman Cain and Sam Davis (Cain & Davis: CADA Records). Selections on the second album; Together with Jesus, included songs composed by Vera Jean Jenkins and by Thom West.
In 1986 Carl Clomon joined the Gospel Choirs United music team as Mount Olivet Choirs new music leader and director and soon became Chairman of the GCU Board of Directors.
In 1987 J. D. Steel was working in the Off- Broadway production of Gospel at Colonus. He enlisted the talents of GCU and the show performed at the Guthrie Theater along with the talents of the Five Blind Boys, Actor, Morgan Freeman, The Steeles, Carolyn White from New York, our own Pastor Earl Miller and Parthia Hill. The show was a big success as evidenced by the sold out performances.
As the Choir and audiences continued to grow a larger facility to perform became necessary. From 1987 to 1992 GCU performed at the State Theater, the Orpheum Theater, The World Theater, OShaunnessy Auditorium, and the Ordway Music Theater along with some well known national artists, i.e. Daryl Coley, Keith Pringle, Kathy Taylor, Jeffrey LaValley and Ricky Grundy and our own Eddie Robinson. In 1992 the choir performed at Calvary Church with guest conductor Steven Roberts from California.
The 20th Year Reunion Concert was held at the World (Fitzgerald) Theater. Former local directors and choir members reunited to perform more than 23 selections.
In 1994 GCU performed at the University of Minnesotas Northrop Auditorium in the off- Broadway production of The Harlem Nutcracker. This too was a new and memorable experience.
In 1996 Sam Davis directed the choir for the last time in one of his arrangements of the spiritual, Ive Got a New Name. This concert was special because we had the opportunity to say thanks and present him with a plaque.
The 25th Year Reunion Banquet was held in 1999 at the Shrine Center prior to the annual concert. The Concert was performed the following day at the Minneapolis Auditorium with more than 1,000 people in attendance and 150 choir members participating.
GCU returned to the Lindquist Auditorium in 2000 and again in 2001. In the years 2002 to 2008, the choir returned to the more traditional church setting with concerts at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, First Covenant church, and Fellowship Baptist Church.
This year 2016, we celebrate 42 years
singing and praising His name, spreading the gospel in song as we continue
to press toward the mark of the high calling in JESUS.