There is no musical instrument more expressive than the human voice as there is nothing that can reproduce the range of intricate sighs, enunciation and dynamics our vocal cords and mouth can produce. It’s no surprise that choirs have millennia of history, with historians unearthing hymns written for a group of voices as early as 128 BCE. Today, they play a central role in worship, sacred and gospel music, and many groups have been innovating to put choral music back into the mainstream. Of course, Detroit is not behind this movement. Check out these groups which have put the choir in the mainstream, and follow them on TikTok.
1. Detroit Youth Choir
@dycofficial Recently, DYC had the opportunity to be special guest on @agt season 15 finale show! #dyc #agt #seasonfinale #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – Detroit Youth Choir
The Detroit Youth Choir, led by its Artistic Director Anthony White, is perhaps the most popular choral group hailing from our city. It soared into popularity after their audition for the 2019 season of America’s Got Talent where Terry Crews, the show’s host for the season, was so moved by their rendition of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Can’t Hold Us” that the host pressed the coveted golden buzzer. The group moved through the competition and won as the show’s first runner-up for its 14th season. Since, the choir has performed its 25-year anniversary with its first gala performance last year and its second gala is coming next month Oct. 29.
2. Larry Callahan & Selected of God
@selectedofgod About 13 years ago we sang this at How sweet the sound …We represent Detroit Well #gospelmusic #gospelchallenge #gospel #howsweetthesound #donaldlawrence #larrycallahan #detroit #chior #followformorevideo #fyp #foryourpage #follow ♬ original sound – SelectedOfGod
This Detroit-based choral group is best known for their rendition of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in “Born of Fire, a Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler that won the 2011 Creative Arts Emmy Award. Larry Callahan & Selected of God have also received a standing ovation during their America’s Got Talent performance in the show’s 2015 season, and have shared the stage with some of the brightest Black musical talents like Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle and Cee-Lo Green.
3. Kevin Lemons and Higher Calling
@kevinlemonsandhctiktok ✨We couldn’t come to Detroit and not honor the Legendary Rudolph Stadfield “Perfect Peace“ – This song truly blessed the house. A big THANK YOU to Dr. E Laquint Weaver and The Hallelujah Singers for your warm hospitality and making us feel welcomed. Again, Congratulations on your 42nd Anniversary!💛 #kevinlemonsandhighercalling #PerfectPeace #Mood #choir #detroit #michigan #doveawards2022 #nominated #music #gospel #soulmusic #energy ♬ original sound – KevinLemonsandHCTikTok
Higher Calling is a 70-plus-person choir noted for its skilled vocals, lively concerts, and avant-garde flair. The choir was founded by Atlanta-born musician Kevin Lemons back in 1996 when he gathered a few singers in a small church. Together, they grew and became the Kevin Lemons and Higher Calling which, apart from singing for Sunday worship, has moved to become a staple in mainstream gospel music. They have released several albums throughout the years along with numerous concerts which frequently include Detroit.
4. Bonus: Rackham Symphony Choir
How wonderful to come together in person last night (first time in nearly 18 months!) and work with the incomparable…Posted by Rackham Choir on Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Rackham Symphony Choir claims that it is the oldest choral group in Detroit, and, starting in 2021, the group has been led by a Black artistic director, Brandon Waddles, who notably has put more African American composers in the group’s repertoire. The choir has been a staple in the city’s high culture with repeated collaborations with Michigan Opera Theatre, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, and the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. While the group doesn’t have a TikTok account yet, they have an active social media presence on Facebook.