Power of Music @ Eastern Michigan University

Music has been fundamental to the founding of the University, the growth of its students, and its connections to the community.



This Library Guide was created by a Historic Preservation graduate class including these students: 

Lindsay Dascola

Annie Gaston

Heather Lehman

Alicia Whitcome

Alexander Whydell 


The students would like to thank the following people. This exhibit would not have happened without them!

Thank you!

Patrick Barry, Jr.

Alexis Braun Marks

Debra Burke

Dr. Matthew Cook

Amber Davis

Dr. Debra Gombert

Larry Hutchinson

Matt Jones

Walter Kraft

Dr. Theresa Merrill

Luis Pena

Music Therapy Center

EMU's Gospel Choir

Martha Jean Cotton founded the Black Gospel Choir as a student in November 1972. The following year, the choir's first anniversary concert program listed 104 members. Cotton was one of the choir's pianists. 

In 1973-74, the Black Gospel Choir participated in a concert exchange with the Kuumba Singers from Harvard. The Kuumba Singers performed at Eastern's campus in 1973, and the Black Gospel Choir performed at Harvard in 1974. The Kuumba Singers' president said that their visit to EMU was the highlight of their tour of Michigan. 

The Black Gospel Choir changed its name to the EMU Gospel Choir sometime before the 1980s. Over the next few decades, the choir performed at various area churches and venues. It regularly performed at EMU events, including Black Solidarity Day celebrations and MLK Memorial Concerts and dinners. 

The EMU Gospel Choir still serves Eastern and the greater Ypsilanti community through its performances. The choir's longevity demonstrates the power groups can have when students feel a need in their college campus and work together to fill it. The choir allows students to express their passion, culture, and spirituality. 

EMU Gospel Choir Performing