UAPB Vesper Choir begins 2012 spring tour

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir set sail on its 2012 spring tour Saturday and will continue through March 25.

Michael Bates, director of the choir and interim chair of the Department of Music, noted that the spring tour has been done intermittently since 1945 and annually since he assumed the position in 2000.

Organized in 1945 by Ariel M. Lovelace, the Vesper Choir serves as one of the main fundraisers for the campus and was given its name because it presented music for the mandatory Sunday evening “Vesper” services on the AM&N campus. The choir is a service organization that has performed for significant campus and community events, schools, churches, and community organizations around the state of Arkansas and internationally. With a mission that is cultural, artistic and educational, the group has produced a long line of distinguished singers, performers and professionals in other work fields and academic, including H. Beecher Hicks, prominent theologian, pastor and author; Smokie Norful, noted contemporary gospel artist and pastor; and James McKissic, internationally renowned concert pianist.

Hosted by the respective UAPB/AM&N Alumni Association chapter at each destination, the multi-state tour is scheduled as follows:

Today — 9 a.m. Zion Travelers Missionary Baptist Church at Kansas City, Kan., where the Rev. Gerald Ballew is pastor; 4 p.m. concert at Friendship Baptist Church at Kansas City, Mo., where the Rev. James A. Terrance Jr., is the senior pastor/teacher

Thursday — 9 a.m. concert at Cheyenne High School at North Las Vegas, Nevada; concert at 7:30 p.m. at The Great Commission Interdenominational Church at North Las Vegas

Friday — 11 a.m. concert at Compton High School at Compton, Calif.; concert at 1 p.m. at Dominguez High School at Compton

March 25 — 8 a.m. Bethel AME at Los Angeles, where the Rev. Kelvin T. Calloway is senior pastor; 11:15 a.m. Bryant Temple AME at Los Angeles, where the Rev. Clyde W. Oden Jr., is senior pastor; 4 p.m. Grant AME Church at Los Angeles, where the Rev. Vernon S. Burroughs is senior pastor

For more information, contact Bates at 870-575-8907.