UB Gospel Choir holds 'chill' open mic night


Eager listeners and bright ceiling lights filled the South Lake Village Community Center Friday night. The room was tense as performers waited to perform in the spotlight.

The initial tension and nerves were quickly relieved as Diane Deroche and Juwan Baker, president and vice president of UB Gospel Choir, respectively, took the floor joking with audience members and welcoming everyone to the event.

“I feel like this semester is the first semester where it’s more jokes and chill,” Deroche said. “The e-board and I were going for that this year and I’m glad it turned out that way, chill vibes all the way.”

There was a lot to take in Friday night at the UB Gospel Choir’s Open Mic Night, held at the community building in South Lake Village. Choir executive board members and new participants alike performed for an audience after choir board members walked in to Hezekiah Walker’s “Hold Out,” which marked their entrance and initiated the event.

Though most of the audience was active members in UB Gospel Choir, those who weren’t were friends of performers and members, which made for a better crowd.

After a prayer, the jam session began.

The night started off strong with a lip sync battle of “You Are God Alone” by Charles and Taylor, a reenactment of Sister Act’s “Joyful Joyful” and a traditional Bollywood dance.

The crowd cheered with laughter and appraisal after every act. Justine Matthews, a junior social sciences major, was one of the performers.

“We’re part of the choir but it’s totally different to sing as part of the choir then to sing by yourself,” Matthews said.

For those who weren’t members of the choir, performing was even more nerve wracking. One audience member went up and performed an acoustic rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

“I loved it yeah, it’s great, a lot different than I expected but I would gladly come again,” said Tyler Benson, a junior business major.

Vanessa Tu, an international student from Taiwan and first-year graduate student, joined the audience as a fan of the choir after passing by and spontaneously deciding to come in.

“I’ve been going through a rough week and God sort of made me decide to come here and meet you all today, it’s been the best thing I’ve done,” Tu said. “I’m surrounded by people who care and have a positive attitude, that’s amazing.”

As the night came to an end, Deroche reflected on the end of the semester and how her experience with the choir is coming to an end.

“I enjoyed this one the most, maybe because it’s my last year here but it was nice and overall just chill, it’s scary to feel like I’m leaving my choir,” Deroche said. “I’ve been part of it for four years and it’s like separation anxiety I guess.”

On top of the open mic, UB’s Gospel Choir also holds a concert, will be held on April 24 in the Student Union Theater. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Dalton Acosta is a contributing features writer. Features desk can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com.