The musical sound of the Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale can be heard as far away as Jerusalem and as near as DeLand.
On March 29, the chorale, under the direction of Terrance L. Lane, graced Lane’s home church, St. Annis Primitive Baptist Church in DeLand.
The chorale found an appreciative audience in the church building on South Orange Avenue.
“I was very impressed with the zeal of the students. They enjoy music and give 100 percent, regardless of audience size or background. I appreciated the full repertoire, and the skill and precision of a full concert in one hour,” said Brenda Cusack, a 1969 member of the B-CU Concert Chorale and a longtime DeLand resident.
Three choir alumni were present: Stan Whitted, Cusack (who sang under Dr. Thomas Demps) and Deidra Price-Stanford (under Dr. Rebecca Steele).
Lane enhanced his musical talent learning from local artists, including Whitted and Carrie Smokes. Smokes served this community for more than 40 years before her death at the age of 87 in 2016. Whitted, also active on the music-education scene for decades, is still teaching, encouraging and directing musicians.
Lane went on to achieve his educational goals at Florida A&M University, Florida State University and the University of Phoenix.
“I have been a follower of his career. I introduced him to the late Doug Lee, who hired him to direct Stetson’s Gospel Choir,” Cusack said.
“I am holistically developing students through music,” said Lane, who started as interim chorale director at B-CU in August and became the director in February.
Benjamin Simmons and Hannah Randolph, both student ambassadors for the B-CU Concert Chorale, spend countless hours preparing for success through practice and engagement.
Simmons, a B-CU student with a 4.0 grade-point average, was recently chosen as one of a few to attend the Paramount Pictures Entertainment Industry College Outreach Program in Los Angeles this summer.
“The education part is the easy part. Being expected to learn, join organizations, while trying to gain necessary skills and be on time, that’s more difficult,” Simmons said. “There are strict call times with the Concert Chorale, and that helps me be on time for everything else. Being a part of something greater than me, means a lot.”
Randolph, who is active in her school community, takes great pride in being a member of the Concert Chorale.
“We are allowed to feel the music and take a spiritual journey. Students often deal with stress. Music calms me down,” she said.
There are 45 members hailing from throughout Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia and the Bahamas.
“I have the best students, because I demand them to be the best,” Lane said.
If you are interested in learning more about the Concert Chorale program or would like to offer a donation, please email to email@example.com.
— Cameron, a longtime educator, lives in Orange City. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.