After a year of memorable performances, The Virginia State University Concert Choir performed its first full on-campus performance since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

LEAD PHOTO:  The Virginia State University Concert Choir performing at its Annual Spring Concert in Virginia Hall in Anderson-Turner Auditorium on the campus of Virginia State University.

PHOTO CREDIT:  CT Studios|Corey Brown


The Virginia State University Concert Choir completed a successful year of performances, culminating with its first on-campus performance.  With the impact of COVID-19 on choirs across the country, many performances were cancelled.  Through diligent COVID protocols including testing, vaccination and Singer’s Masks, the VSU Concert Choir managed to turn out a series of impressive appearances.

Under the leadership of Interim Director and Petersburg native Patrick D. McCoy, the choir performed prominently this

Interim Director of Choral Activities Patrick D. McCoy conducting the VSU Concert Choir with accompanist Dr. James Harris at the piano. (PHOTO CREDIT: CT Studios|Corey Brown)

year including at the historic Mount Vernon Slave Commemoration and The VSU Annual Founder’s Day Celebration.  Most notably, the choir was one of several university choirs to perform at the prestigious Music Center at Strathmore in a groundbreaking performance of the Defiant Requiem under the direction of Maestro Murry Sidlin with full orchestra and professional vocal soloists.  Among the other participating choirs were Virginia Commonwealth University, Longwood University, University of Virginia, Catholic University and American University. Dr. Erin Freeman of Virginia Commonwealth University served as chorus master.


On May 1, 2022, the choir presented The Annual Spring Concert on campus in Virginia Hall-Anderson-Turner Auditorium.  Dr. James A. Harris, Jr. served as piano accompanist.  The program featured a wide range of music by J. S. Bach, Anton

Clap Your Hands” was composed by Boyd E. Gibson for the Virginia State University Concert Choir. It was premiered at the Annual Spring Concert. (Courtesy Photo)

Bruckner and Noah F. Ryder, among others. As a continuation of the monumental experience of singing the ‘Defiant Requiem’ at Strathmore, the choir performed the “O Sheh Shalom” a somber reflective piece hearkening to the Jewish faith.  Professor James ‘Saxsmo’ Gates accompanied the choir on the soprano saxophone.  A special highlight on the program was the world premiere of the anthem “Clap Your Hands All You Peoples” by composer Boyd Gibson, written especially for Patrick D. McCoy and the VSU Concert Choir.   Boyd is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of the Southern Carribean. Accomplished percussionist Orisegun BennettOlomidun joined the choir for Andre J. Thomas’ “Keep Your Lamps” and Ralph M. Johnson’s “Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord!”

Ending the program was the singing of “The Evening Song” with the current choir and VSU Concert Choir alumni in attendance.  For more information about the Virginia State University Concert Choir and upcoming performances, please contact Interim Director Patrick D. McCoy at or at (804) 524-5332.


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