Tag Archives: New Direction Choir

TSU Receives 11 Nominations For 2019 HBCU Digest Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is a finalist in 11 categories of the 2019 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.

The winners will be announced at the ninth annual HBCU Awards ceremony to be held on August 2 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in downtown Baltimore. 

TSU is a finalist for University of the Year, and TSU President Glenda Glover is in the running for Female President of the Year.

Other TSU nominations are:

Best Marching Band: Aristocrat of Bands

Best HBCU Choir: New Direction Choir

Best Fine Arts Program: Department of Music

Best Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics (STEM) Program: College of Engineering

Best Business Program: Executive MBA Program

Alumna of the Year: Traci Otey Blunt

Female Coach of the Year: Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice

Male Athlete of the Year: Christion Abercrombie

Male Student of the Year: Jailen Leavell

The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalist, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities.

Last year, Tennessee State University received awards for “Best Student Organization” and “Alumnus of the Year.”

The year before that, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and the university’s College of Engineering received top honors in the HBCU Digest Awards.

In 2015, TSU’s women’s basketball team got Female Team of the Year, and student activities received Best Student Organization.

To see all the 2019 HBCU Awards finalists, visit: https://bit.ly/31JbrRF

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University’s World-Renowned New Direction Choir to Be Featured Guest on BET’s ‘Sunday Best’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – They have performed for the Pope, and have been called the best college choir in the nation, but if you think you have seen the best of the TSU New Direction Choir, think again.

New Direction Choir Director Justin Butler, right, leads the group during taping of of their upcoming appearance on BET’s Sunday Best. (Submitted Photo)

The world-renowned choir has been selected to appear as featured performer on BET’s hit show “Sunday Best,” a reality television gospel music singing competition series.

The choir will appear in an episode of the show which airs this fall. They will perform gospel hits selected by the show’s producers. On May 9, the group spent the day taping their upcoming performance in the Tyler Perry Studio in Atlanta.

“We are just excited and grateful,” said Justin Butler, director of New Direction, who called the invitation a “total surprise and a wild moment.”

He said one of the producers of Sunday Best (Torrance Glenn) “called us out of the blue” and said he had been following New Direction for a long time, and when he needed a choir to perform behind the contestants, the TSU group “instantly” came to mind.

The choir performs at one of its many concerts during the European tour. (submitted Photo)

“It was a wild moment. We didn’t know we had impacted someone all the way in New York,” Butler said. “He just said, ‘I need you all as guest performers for this episode and I need you here’ by this time. He said he felt we would be the best to perform on the show behind the contestants.”

Kedrick Noel, a junior music education major from Memphis, is president of New Direction Choir. He said he got the call from Butler about the opportunity to appear on BET.

“It is just amazing. We are beyond grateful and blessed to have this opportunity to perform on BET Sunday Best,” Noel said. “It was just a blessing how everything worked out. The school was one hundred percent behind us, the choir was one hundred percent behind us.”

Last winter, New Direction spent 31 days touring and performing in different cities across Europe. The group held 24 concerts, including an appearance in the Vatican, where they met and performed for the Pope.

Concert goers cheer on the TSU New Direction Choir during a performance on the group’s recent European tour. (Submitted Photo)

“That was another wild moment,” said Butler. “The people were so excited to see us. They treated us like we were rock stars. The red carpet was laid out for us everywhere we went.”

In 2015, New Direction was voted the “Nation’s Best Gospel Choir ” with a $15,000 prize, when they took their final bow at the National College Choir Explosion in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It was overwhelming to see our students come out and work so hard,” primary group advisor Deborah Chisom, said at the time. “Even though I was not on stage with them, seeing them so excited was just very fulfilling.”

For more information on the TSU New Direction Gospel Choir, go to http://tnstatenewsroom.com/archives/tag/new-direction-choir

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Gospel Group Called “Best” in the Nation, Wins National College Choir Explosion

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New Direction Choir Director Justin Butler, left, primary advisor Deborah Chisom, and choir president Kendric Dartis receive the $15,000 first-place prize as the Nation’s Best Gospel Choir, at the National College Choir Explosion.


NASHVILLE, Tenn
. (TSU News Service) –

Hands-down, the Tennessee State University New Direction Choir is the best college gospel group in the country.

The group has proven this time and again, and Saturday, March 7, was no different when they took their final bow at the National College Choir Explosion in Louisville, Kentucky.

Competing as one of eight finalists from among several college gospel choirs, the TSU New Direction Choir came out on top winning the coveted title as the Nation’s Best Gospel Choir, with a $15,000 prize.

 The group also won the People’s Choice Award as the audience’s favorite group, which earned them another $1,000 prize. 

“It was an overwhelming experience knowing that we were national champions not just because the judges voted us number one, but because the audience also felt we were the best,” said tenor Kendric Dartis, a senior Healthcare Administration and Planning major, who is president of the choir. “Seeing the joy and jubilation on everyone’s face, especially the freshman members who had never experienced something like this before, was just very heartwarming.”

This was the group’s third straight finish as champions and runners-up in national competitions in the last four years. In 2011 they won first place in the Fourth Annual National Black Collegiate Alumni Hall of Fame Gospel Choir Competition in Atlanta, competing against four HBCU choirs. Two years later in 2013, the group came slightly short in the final round, winning Regional Runner-Up title in the Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Gospel Choir Competition, also in Atlanta.

“Winning the National College Choir Explosion was especially exciting, because we wanted to come out and redeem ourselves after falling short the year before,” Dartis said.

Primary group advisor Deborah Chisom, a TSU alum and director of Graduate Admissions, said, “It was overwhelming to see students come out and work so hard. Even though I was not on stage with them, seeing them so excited was just very fulfilling. “

In addition to vocal presentation, participating choirs were judged on diction, intonation, tone quality, appearance, stage presence and audience appeal.

Judges included four-time Grammy Award-winning singer and musician Martha Munizzi; President and CEO of Bridgeman Foods Inc., Ulysses L. Bridgeman Jr.; talk show host and motivational speaker Carla Young; and gospel recording artist Byron Cage.

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A large group of TSU alumni, students, staff and friends were in attendance to cheer on the New Direction Choir as they took the stage as finalists at the National College Choir Explosion in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 7.

According to group members, the New Direction Choir, under the direction of TSU graduate Justin Butler, owes it success to the “overwhelming” support from TSU alumni, students, administrators and friends. During every competition, they said, a “dedicated” group of alumni, traveling on what they call the “Blue Bus,” follows and cheers them on wherever they are performing.

“Alumni support made a big difference,” said Tammy Taylor, group advisor and grants specialist in the Title III office, who also handles photo and videography for the group. “Our students had a level of support that was not visible with the other groups during the competition. I think that made a big difference with our group, and it lifted the extra burden of knowing they had an audience that was squarely behind them.”

Team support, with the new addition of the Reverend Frank Stevenson, assistant dean for Off-Campus Services in the Division of Student Activities, as an advisor to the New Direction Choir, is also a major factor in the group’s success, they said.

“President (Glenda) Glover has been very supportive; we could not have made it this far without her support and that of Executive Vice President Jane Jackson,” said Chisom. “Special thanks to the Student Government Association and Dr. Michael Freeman (vice president for Student Affairs) for not just their moral support, but also their financial support to the group.”

New Direction Choir has participated in concerts across the country. They have also appeared on the nationally televised Bobby Jones Gospel as featured guests. Additionally, the more than 45-member group has traveled many places taking what they have learned in vocal techniques and from Tennessee State University to share with others across the nation.

Other finalists that competed against New Direction were choirs from the University of Louisville, Middle Tennessee State University, Kentucky State University, North Carolina Central University, Virginia State University, the University of Kentucky and Mississippi State University.

University Choir Belts it Out in Singing Competition

The New Direction performs at the How Sweet the Sound Verizon Experience, a regional competition as part of nationwide search for the best gospel choir. The group from TSU was the first HBCU choir to ever take part in the competition, and only the third university choir selected in the competition’s six years. (courtesy photo)
The New Direction performs at the How Sweet the Sound Verizon Experience, a regional competition as part of nationwide search for the best gospel choir. The group from TSU was the first HBCU choir to ever take part in the competition, and only the third university choir selected in the competition’s six years. (courtesy photo)

 

New Direction Choir takes on community and church choirs in regional competition 

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The New Direction Choir from Tennessee State University took center stage Oct. 8 in Atlanta to compete against five other choirs to see who would walk away with bragging rights as the best gospel troupe in the region.

TSU’s choir took part in “How Sweet the Sound,” a nationwide search for the best gospel choir in the country. The New Direction Choir was the first HBCU choir to ever take part in the competition, and only the third university choir selected in the competition’s six years.

Competing against larger church and community choirs, New Direction captured the 1st Runner-Up award in the regional division.

“Hundreds of choirs applied for the competition, but only the very best were selected to take part,” said Deborah Chisom, director of Graduate Admission and the choir’s primary advisor. “The students were literally jumping for joy when they heard the good news. This was an opportunity to take our performance to another level.”

The choir submitted a video performance to the selection committee in early summer and found out in August that they were one of six choirs picked for the regionals in Atlanta. The choir had only a month to prepare, and, according to Chisom, the choir was given a list of approved songs that were cleared for the competition. They then had to select five songs from the list to sing, with the competition committee selecting the song they would eventually perform.

“It was very intense preparing for the competition,” added Chisom. “The other choirs we were competing against were larger and had more singing time together.”

None of that mattered when the choir took to the stage. Under the direction of TSU alumnus, Justin Butler, the 35-member choir belted out a creative rendition of the late Olanda Draper’s “My Soul Does Magnify The Lord.”  The choir was judged on the creativity of the arrangement, their uniform, diction, choreography and audience participation.

Out of the six choirs performing, TSU captured the second spot and a $5,000 award. They also won the right to compete in the finale in Los Angeles if the winning choir is unable to make it or drops out.

“It is competitions like this that put TSU and the New Direction Choir on the map,” said Chisom. “We had numerous alumni from the Atlanta area watch the performance and they told us they had no idea that the University had such a wonderful and talented choir.”

“How Sweet the Sound,” which is sponsored by Verizon, is now in its sixth year of traversing the country for its best gospel choirs. This year’s competition launched in New Orleans Sept. 27, with stops in Dallas, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, and Detroit. Following the Atlanta show, the contest culminates with the finals in Los Angeles Nov. 2 where winners from each city compete for a $25,000 grand prize and a chance to record with eOne Music.

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top Universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912 Tennessee State University celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu