The Long Center for the Performing Arts could have been mistaken for a church Saturday night with songs of praise filling its main auditorium.
The Black Cultural Center’s choir, Black Voices of Inspiration, partnered with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra Saturday for two hours to present upbeat gospel music to an energetic and rather large crowd.
Many seats in the 1,200 capacity theater were filled. This was the first time the two organizations have collaborated.
Tennessee resident Jill Fergusson, who attended the concert in support of a friend, was pleasantly surprised that she enjoyed the choir.
“I think the gospel choir kind of adds to the energy of the performance; it’s very upbeat with a good tempo," Fergusson said. "I would come back to see something like this."
The Black Voices of Inspiration worked alongside the orchestra for songs such as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” but also sang some pieces independently.
The choir asked the crowd to participate in their performance using a “call-and-answer” technique where the crowd would repeat some of the lines the choir sang. The audience also interacted by yelling out "yeah" or "that's right" if they agreed with something the choir sang.
The conductors of the Black Voices of Inspiration directed the singers unusually; instead of the typical hand motions, the conductor did more of an interpretive dance, walking back and forth in front of the singers and making full arm gestures animatedly.
Liz White, a Kokomo resident who came to watch her mother perform in the orchestra, thought the addition of the choir made for a lively performance.
“I think the choir is amazing and is definitely the best part,” White said. “It’s so upbeat; it makes me want to get up and dance. I’ve been to multiple symphony concerts and I think this is my favorite so far.”