‘A big deal’: Some of God’s Children Choir celebrates 50th anniversary with concert


Image courtesy of Some of Gods’ Children Gospel Choir

Members of Some of Gods’ Children Gospel Choir pose for a photo.

By Khushi Rai, Senior Staff Writer

For Aleje Jacob Santiago, Some of God’s Children Gospel Choir is more than just a “regular gospel choir.”

“It’s like truly having that atmosphere to be yourself through your own faith and accompany each other while also singing spiritually through God,” Santiago, a sophomore film and media studies major, said. “I know speaking from just my experience here, we’re not a gospel choir full of 50 people and stuff. We have a more intimate type of connection and community.” 

Hundreds of students have appreciated this community throughout the years. On Sunday, SOGC is hosting a 50th anniversary concert at the William Pitt Union at 4 p.m. The concert, which is free, includes an appearance from gospel artist Phil Thompson

“We’re focusing on the current students because we want everyone to feel comfortable enough to come and experience what we have to share, because 50 years is a big deal. Not a lot of student organizations are able to be in full existence and run for 50 years,” said Kaylee Samuel, a junior neuroscience major and the vice president of SOGC.

Michael Akinsola, a senior civil engineering major and a member of SOGC, said the club started as a Bible study, and merged into a choir over time in 1973. He said the club’s mission is centered on the Black identity.

“It was because people that were on campus saw the need for a space like this that didn’t exist obviously at the time, when it wasn’t as diverse as it is now,” Akinsola said. “It’s a big deal for that reason, because this organization has always served a need, not only for the University but even the Pittsburgh area.”

Akinsola added that SGOC makes it a goal to maintain close contact with alumni, since many still live in Pittsburgh. 

“We have events like just inviting people and having them come back,” Akinsola said. “But a good amount of the alumni are still in the Pittsburgh area and attend some of the same churches and just have that same community with each other.”

Jordyn Newing, a senior finance and business information systems major and the president of SOGC, said gospel music is a significant part of Black heritage and history. She said since SOGC is the only gospel choir on campus, a lot of other Black organizations on campus come to them when they want music at their events. She said the club usually hosts a fall and spring concert in collaboration with their sister organizations, the gospel step team and the gospel interpretative dance team, Anointed Steps of Faitht.

“I think it’s important that there’s diversity within the Black population as well in terms of our interests, in terms of what we want to do in like the kind of events that we want to collaborate with,” Newing said. “Once the choir was first founded, I think it’s just a great thing to be able to collaborate with the other Black students that may not be a part of this organization.”

Newing said although some organizations tend to fizzle out after a couple of years, she believes SOGC continued to remain relevant on campus because it created a “haven” for students. She said SOGC has created a space for students to worship and establish a fellowship community.

 “It’s been a space where you can go to when classes get stressful, life gets stressful, many different things,” Newing said. “But you can come here and just be you and you can express yourself through many different avenues. Like myself, I really love to express through song, through singing music, anything music related.”