Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Benedict College Gospel Choir wins $5,000 at Black Expo competitionColumbia, SC -- May 23, 2012 -- The Benedict College Gospel Choir (BCGC) was overjoyed after winning the Gospel Best competition that reaped a $5,000 cash prize. The competition was a part of the events that took place at the 2012 Black Expo South held at the Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, SC on Saturday, May 19. The award was presented to the choir which was described as bringing something extra-special to the stage in their performance. The legendary Dr. Bobby Jones of BET's Bobby Jones Gospel emceed the competition.

Under the direction of Mr. Darryl Izzard since 1996, the Benedict College Gospel Choir is known as one of the finest collegiate gospel choirs in the country. Focusing on making each performance an uplifting experience for both members and their audience, the choir's talent has been recognized internationally. The gospel group was the Grand Prize winner at the National HBCU Competition in New York, the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation's Gospel Choir Competition winners in Atlanta, GA and seven-time champions at the Black Music Caucus' National Collegiate Gospel Choir Competition. The choir has toured globally: performing in Ghana, West Africa; Caracas, Venezuela; Bogota, Colombia; Heidelberg, Germany; and for the Pope at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.

Mr. Izzard, a 2001 graduate of Benedict College, with a major in Business Administration - Management and a minor in Marketing, said, "When I began directing the gospel choir there were 18 members."

The choir BCGC has grown to a 110 member ensemble whose varied repertoire includes a wide range of melodies from traditional to contemporary gospel songs. The choir recorded their first album in 2001, "Say the Word" and included the popular rendition of the Grammy award winning band, Hootie and The Blowfish's best-selling song, "Hold My Hand."

BCGC is in the process of writing the songs and music for a new album. Mr. Izzard said, "The team of singers I work with has to be some of the best people in the country." When he signed up to do the Black Expo competition, it hadn't dawned on him that school would be out and the choir members would be gone home. "But when I called them and told them the date, not one hesitated and they all drove back."

He was excited that the other two categories of the competition were won by Benedict graduates, who had been members of the BCGC. Regina R. Skeeters, a 2002 graduate, won 1st Place in the soloist category; while 2003 graduate, Kebra Benford of the gospel group 100 Psalms won 1st Place in the group category.

For more information on the Benedict College Gospel Choir, please contact Mr. Darryl Izzard at 803- 705-4625.


Kymm Hunter, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing; 803.705.4519
Carolyn Wigfall, Communications and Marketing Manager; 803.705.4366