Kingdom Choir has a soulful night as they pack the PAC

Vydalia Weatherly, staff writer

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Performing Arts Center was packed with young children and adults from the Erie community, Mercyhurst students and employees for the concert sponsored by the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture, also known as MIAC. Everyone gathered in that room came to listen and watch the Kingdom Choir. In 2018,the British gospel group became famous after performing at Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding that was broadcasted throughout the globe. Almost five years later, the Kingdom Choir brought their amazing vocals to our campus. At 7:30 p.m. the Performing Arts Center filled with bright lights as the curtain raised revealing the Kingdom Choir decked in colorful outfits similar to those they wore to the royal wedding minus the fancy hats. The choir performed songs ranging from familiar favorites such as “Stand by Me,” “Amazing Grace” and “ I Say a Little Prayer” to new original songs from the choir like “Not Giving Up.” Throughout the performance, members of the Kingdom Choir offered up words of hope and wisdom to people in the audience. I watched the Kingdom Choir on TV during the royal wedding in 2018, but that experience was incomparable to listening to the choir’s amazing vocals live. After the intermission, the choir brought a local choir of high school students onto the stage to join them in a song. I witnessed the Kingdom Choir share their moment with a young group of students who probably aspire to perform professionally, which was incredible. In my three years on campus, I have never experienced a performance like the Kingdom Choir’s in the Performing Arts Center. The atmosphere was indescribable. The Kingdom Choir encouraged everyone to participate. A room full of strangers of all ages sang together, danced together and enjoyed everyone’s company. At some point during the concert, the Kingdom Choir encouraged everyone to swing something in the air. Not having anything small, I found myself swinging the sleeve of my jacket as others around me were swinging keys, tissues, and anything they could find to participate. Not being able to record the concert and practice theatre etiquette, I was able to enjoy being in the moment and free from all distractions. For approximately two hours, everyone in that room was about to let loose and not worry about what others may think of their singing or dancing abilities. Everyone was able to have a good time and experience live music. From where I sat on the balcony, I could see President Getz singing along to the songs and occasionally doing little dances, which was a fun sight to see as well. I want to thank the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture and Brett Johnson, Ph.D., for allowing Mercyhurst and the Erie community to experience live music. I highly encourage every student to support the arts and attend a performance when they can, especially since most tickets for MIAC performances are free for students with their Mercyhurst ID. The next MIAC performance will be held on Thursday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center and starring Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara