The University's Conservatorium of Music Director Associate Professor Andrew Legg's commitment to gospel music has been officially recognised during the Southern Gospel Choir's tour of the United States.
Associate Professor Legg was inducted as Life-Time Honorary Mayor of Tuskegee by Alabama State officials, the Montgomery High Court Supreme Judge and the Governor of Alabama.
The honour was announced during the Southern Gospel Choir's whirlwind tour of the US, where they performed to packed audiences at gospel churches and venues.
The SGC's tour of the US has been an amazing success. The performances in Dallas and Tuskegee attracted huge audiences, and most importantly, have seen the choir connect with the African American community in profound and life-changing ways.
Performing at St Luke's United Methodist church and then Potters House in Dallas, the choir played to an audience of more than 20,000, broadcast live coast to coast in the US, and direct streamed around the world to millions.
The standard of playing and singing in the US is absolutely cutting edge, and the SGC has had to strive for and reach that same standard - and according to audiences and critics, they have done so, and with flare, passion, the highest levels of professionalism.
Myron Butler (Potters House, Kirk Franklin and Levi) said: "They shouldn't sound this good - there is no reason they should sound this good - but they do. They captivated our people, audience and choir alike.
"Their energy and sound authentic, and is all African American."
Khristian Dently (Take 6) said: "They are totally sold out to this music. That is why it works. They are undeniably Australian and Tasmanian, and authentically and obviously African American at the same time. Legg has worked a miracle - and the SGC hang on his every note, every movement, every moment. They're 'down home', contemporary and international all in the one breath. Truly amazing."
The honour and grace shown by the African American community to the SGC, and to Associate Professor Legg in particular, has placed the choir in a unique and honoured position.
"This reception, this level of appreciation and love, and these overwhelming honours were completely unexpected.
"The choir have worked their way into the very heart of the community that we wanted to honour, praise and thank. And they have turned this back on us," said Associate Professor Legg.
"Musically I couldn't be happier with our performances, obviously. But I seriously didn't count on the way in which we would be embraced by this people. We are humbled beyond words, extremely grateful, and very excited about the future."
Image: The SGC with Myron Butler (Potters House, Kirk Franklin and Levi).
To find out more about the Southern Gospel Choir, please visit: http://www.southerngospelchoir.com.au/
Published on: 24 Nov 2014 3:49pm