by Tessa Landrum, Student Public Relations Writer
Anya Burns and Matthew Pettus, juniors at Cedarville University, have started a gospel choir called “All the People.”
Burns, a worship major, grew up listening to gospel music, a Christian music genre made popular by African-American performers such as Bebe and Cece Winans, Kirk Franklin, and Tasha Cobbs. After thinking and praying about founding a gospel choir, she recruited Pettus, a psychology major with a minor in worship, to serve alongside her as co-director, and “All the People” was born.
“All the People” is more than a musical social gathering, Burns explained. She and Pettus hope to serve and challenge Cedarville students by teaching them new styles of musical worship not common on campus.
“A lot of people here didn’t grow up with gospel music and don’t listen to it currently,” said Burns. “Even people in the worship major don’t do this style of music a lot.”
“All the People” will strive to remind students that worship isn’t confined to a musical genre. “We don’t want people to think that there’s only one type of worship music, and that’s the contemporary music that they hear in Cedarville chapel or the hymns they grew up hearing in church,” said Pettus. “There are multiple genres proclaiming the same name.”
Pettus added that, as a group, they want to remind students that worship extends beyond singing and playing instruments. “Worship isn’t strictly music,” said Pettus. “A lot of people tie music and worship together, which is good! But there are so many other ways you can worship.”
Even though “All the People” wasn’t able to host events on campus during the fall semester, socially distant rehearsals were held. The band that will accompany their choir took advantage of the extra time to practice and refine the songs they will be leading for worship nights in the spring. “It’s a blessing in disguise,” said Burns. “We have all of this extra time to work on the music.”
Nehemiah 8 and 1 John 2:2 are the foundational passages of Scripture for the group and inspired their name. “It’s the concept that everyone was able to come and salvation was offered to all people,” said Pettus. “All could come, and all could be saved.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Arts in Worship program, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.