Budget lacks room for praising God

The immensely popular Gospel Choir has been cut for next year.

by Amy Durmaskin

Every Monday evening, 238 students of various backgrounds, ages and majors come together for two hours to pour themselves into an activity bridging these differences to achieve a higher purpose: singing praise to God. But even GodâÄôs praises are not spared from the University of MinnesotaâÄôs tightening belt. For the first time in 25 years, Gospel Choir will not be available for enrollment this fall. The shock was palpable among students who were informed one evening in class that Gospel Choir would no longer exist. Gospel Choir is consistently full and maintains a large waitlist, turning away gospel hopefuls each semester. Gospel Choir is the only option for non-music majors to sing in an on-campus choir without auditioning and is one of the few available choral music courses outside the classical European influence. One student, who wrote administration regarding the cancellation of Gospel Choir, was offered consolations but informed that, âÄúas an accredited School of Music, we must place our priority at this time on those degrees and programs that assure that our graduates will have accredited diplomas. Without that priority, we could see the complete demise of a School of Music at the University of Minnesota.âÄù This music school boasts a mission to create, perform, apply and impart music in âÄúall its diverse forms.âÄù To cut a diverse choir reflective of traditional and contemporary gospel music is contradictory. IâÄôm ashamed of the University for its failure to preserve such a critical part of this campusâÄô culture and meaningful experience for so many students. I understand the dilemma of the University in this difficult economic time, but I question the justice of the decision. Where will the âÄúbuckâÄù stop? I ask University students to speak out against this injustice before the final budget hearing this June. E-mail professor David Myers in the School of Music at [email protected]. Amy Durmaskin University undergraduate student