Every year, Ohio Northern University‘s Gospel Ensemble sings praise and shares powerful messages through song during the music group’s annual spring concert. This year’s performance on April 3 inside the McIntosh Ballroom of the university’s McIntosh Center was no different, as the ensemble collaborated with the Toledo Youth Choir, the Philippian Missionary Baptist Church Choir and ONU praise dancers. During the concert, many songs centered on praises to the Lord. Ensemble members shared their messages of faith in the best way they know, through song. 

Vice-President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Dr. Adriane Thompson-Bradshaw, acts as the director for the Gospel Ensemble. She discusses how the performance impacted those who attended. 

“The audience was encouraged by the spiritual messages of the songs and they were filled with joy by the level of enthusiasm and excitement displayed by every participant,” said Thompson-Bradshaw.

During the concert, each of the performing groups performed two individual songs to showcase their group. After the individual songs were performed, the choirs combined to perform praise songs in unison, including “Awesome God,” “My Help,” “Sound of Praise,” “Broken But I’m Healed” and “War and Grace.” In addition, a praise song was performed to “Great is Your Mercy.” Together, the combined choirs filled the room with music and uplifting messages for the audience. 

Formed in the fall of 1987, the Gospel Ensemble meets weekly, on Mondays, in ONU’s English Chapel Sanctuary to rehearse. Throughout the semester, the Gospel Ensemble performs outreaches at various churches throughout the Hardin County area and beyond to share gospel messages.     

When the group was formed, Thompson-Bradshaw had never directed a choir before, but she had performed in several choirs. She took the opportunity to direct the Gospel Ensemble as a challenge and the organization has continued to grow ever since its foundation.

Next spring, the Gospel Ensemble will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. Alumni from throughout the past 30 years plan to return to ONU to join the ensemble next spring for the concert. The ensemble is enthusiastic to perform with returning members and many new members to carry on the tradition of performing powerful messages and praise through song.

Thompson-Bradshaw talks about her experience with the Gospel Ensemble and what she loves and appreciates the most working with her students.

“What I love most about Gospel Ensemble being in the midst of the work God does through the group.  I watch in amazement every year at how He blesses students in the group and members of the congregations where we visit.  It is such a wonderful feeling to know that people can be lifted from sadness and depression and encouraged and given hope as God touches them through music.  To be even a small part of that process is an experience like no other,” Thompson-Bradshaw concludes.   

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