The Black Diamond Choir is the only gospel choir on campus.
The Black Diamond Choir is the only gospel choir on campus.

If you’re heading out to Louisville’s first Bourbon and Beyond Festival at Champions Park Saturday and Sunday, look for UofL’s own. 

The Black Diamond Choir, the only gospel choir on campus and one of the oldest college gospel choirs in the Commonwealth, is playing the festival 11:15-11:45 a.m. on both days.  

Dominique ‘Dom’ McShan, Program Director at UofL’s Cultural Center, who serves as choir manager, said the festival booked the choir this summer. 

“We’re excited about it, this is a large audience for us, for sure,” he said, as festival promoters expect to draw as many as 20,000 a day. 

The choir started in 1969 as a black music appreciation course. It’s now an official student organization with about 50 singers. Participating students may earn one hour of course credit from the School of Music.

The repertoire is a mix of contemporary and traditional Gospel music, McShan said.

Throughout the years, the choir has traveled extensively for appearances throughout the region and made a number of recordings, many with national recording artists, and notably with the CW Network’s “Sounds of the Season” Television special in 2007.

Just this year, Jason Clayborn, director of the choir, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Song for “Better” featuring Hezekiah Walker.

Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.