Still recovering from the excitement after placing second in Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound choir competition, the SF State Gospel Gators gathered at Lakeside Presbyterian Church Oct. 1 to rehearse.
The Gospel Gators, an inclusive student choir with a diverse group of people from Christians to Atheists, achieved this feat with only two weeks to prepare.
“It was really crazy,” said Ja Ronn Thompson, director and founder of Gospel Gators. “I wasn’t really worried about their performance. I was worried about getting down there (Los Angeles) in a timely fashion. Whenever you’re doing something great, something always comes up.”
How Sweet the Sound took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Audition videos were submitted from choirs all over the country and the top ones were selected by a panel of judges.
“We technically only had two rehearsals as a choir,” said Gospel Gator member and president Devary White. “I’m amazed that we came together and got it so quickly. It was fun, but it was very hectic. I’m not going to lie.”
According to Thompson, they rehearsed far less than the other competitors. Judges base their ratings off of appearances, sound, arrangement, movement and the director.
“We only lost first place in the entire West Coast region by one point,” Thompson said.
What many choir members emphasize on is how diverse their group is and it reflects their unity and passion.
“I really love how we’re really diverse with our own culture and come together as one, as a choir is,” said member Carla-Grace Fajardo. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
Regarding the competition, Thompson said that it is this family-like atmosphere that makes them stand out and also played a role in their achievement.
“We’re pretty much coming together and singing,” Thompson said. “It’s what makes it so beautiful because you have a group of people that don’t necessarily all feel the exact same way about the exact same thing, but we can all come together and realize if God is love, we all love each other and operate like a family. Without this, I wouldn’t be the same person.”