The destruction of Hurricane Dorian was transformed into an opportunity to connect and heal at “Cans ’N Chorus.”
On Thursday, Nov. 21, the Gospel Choir and the Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP) presented “World Dilemmas.” The concert’s entrance fee was a canned good or non-perishable item, which went toward relief efforts for the Bahamas.
Junior Timiesha Knowles, who directs the Gospel Choir, had an especially personal connection to this event. She is from the Bahamas and had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian while hundreds of miles away at school.
“I remember trying to keep it all together in classes while pushing my thoughts and emotions aside,” Knowles said. “Doing this also made me realize that there are so many things happening in the lives of every student, professor and staff on this campus that we rarely get a chance to mention, mourn and help each other due to there never being a good time or place to.”
In response to this realization, Knowles hoped this concert would provide a time for attendees to pray and reflect on the issues they are normally too busy to fully consider.
The other members of the choir had similar goals.
“We hope and pray that the student body will have a meaningful encounter with God and that they don't leave the same way they came,” said junior Sam Hardy. “This is a great opportunity to recognize our brokenness and rest in God's mercy and unconditional love.”
The night’s performances were predominantly black gospel music, as well as a few Caribbean worship songs. Spoken word, rap and dance were also included in the lineup.
After the music ended, the audience was invited to join in a Bahamian extravaganza. This celebration of Bahamian culture featured traditional Caribbean dishes and party games like Ring Play, Jump In and Dominos.
This time of community after emotional vulnerability ensured the night ended on a high note. Knowles expressed interest in hosting similar events in the future for times of reflection and prayer. Other members of the Gospel Choir shared a similar interest in deepening community openness.
“We aren't just trying to slap a worship song on top of suffering,” junior Melissa Copeland said. “We hope to bring sincere hope and a call to action. God wants both our hurt and our worship.”