United Voices of Praise
It is the vision of the United Voices of Praise to witness and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music and testimony. It is our intent to continue touching the lives of those who have accepted Christ as well as those who have not.
United Voices of Praise is a 75-voice choir under the leadership of Dr. Dwight Thomas. This gospel choir reflects the diversity of the College in their singing of urban-style gospel music. A goal of the choir is to expose Messiah students to many churches, joining them in praise and worship, and to make youths aware of the benefits of choosing Messiah College.
"Our congregants are still talking about the wonderful time we had and the worshipful ministry of music brought forth by the Messiah College United Voices of Praise! It is so wonderful to see a group of young people showing strong witness of God's love and singing high praises to our Lord!"
- Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church
United Voices of Praise began as a ministry of Messiah College in the early 1990's when a small group of African-American students gathered to bring their gospel roots to our campus. Within two years, the seven-member group had grown to twenty-five and had begun to make appearances in Messiah's chapel services. The choir continued to grow in numbers and ministry opportunities until it exploded to more than sixty members in 1997. By this time, the vision and ministry of the gospel choir appealed to students of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds within the Messiah community, and the choir developed into the diverse group it is today.
Students have always played a central role in the leadership and direction of the choir. Currently, the choir is under student directors and Mr. Ernie Tilman.
Dr. Dwight W. Thomas teaches church music and ethnic music at Messiah College. He has been actively involved in church music throughout his career, directing church music programs and leading a variety of denominational events as clinician and music director. He and his wife have lived abroad where Dr. Thomas has studied and documented the musical life of Christians in non-western contexts. Dr. Thomas' field recordings include examples of Christian music from central Africa, several countries of Latin America, India and Japan. In addition to his teaching and church music work, Dr. Thomas has been an active composer of original musical works, and an arranger of Christian and ethnic songs for choirs and instrumental ensembles.
Dr. Thomas obtained his B.S. in Music Education from Messiah College in 1970, an M.A. in Secondary Education from Indiana University at South Bend, and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Michigan.