The Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir (PSGC) was organized in 1991 by students and has constantly emphasized the breadth and depth of gospel music in order to expose both SUNY Plattsburgh and the North Country to this uniquely American genre. PSGC’s first performance in 1991 was for SUNY Plattsburgh’s Kent State/Jackson State memorial ceremony. Even to this day some 25 years later, the choir still presents musical selections in honor of those college students who lost their lives while protesting against Social Injustice. The choir’s founder, Zadine Richardson, and a few pioneering students, through prayer, hard work, and sheer determination, started the choir with a passion to maintain the gospel songs which gave them the strength and positive direction they desired while in college. Michelle Noble-Coursey and Zadine worked tirelessly until the gospel choir became a fully recognized Student Association club. Janet Saunders, SUNY Plattsburgh’s EOP Director, became the choir’s first advisor.
In the mid-'90s and early 2000s, SUNY Plattsburgh's EOP Director, Marlene Fields, became director/advisor of the choir, and Bishop Franklin Blanks, Jr. and Raymond Golden served as the primary musicians. The choir experienced tremendous spiritual growth and recognition during this time. Since 2001, Dexter Criss has served as the choir's pianist, choir director, and now artistic director. From 2002 to 2012, Sally Urban served as the choir's advisor. Andrea Ogle has served as the choir director since 2005. Jeff Wheel has served as the choir's band leader since 2010 and Rosinda Anthony has served as choir advisor since 2016. In 2002, the choir added a Step Team, Praise Dance Team, and a Praise Team component to the choir. The Gospel Choir now bears academic credit as INT225. The choir released their debut CD in the Spring of 2003. Since then, they have released six other CDs and two DVDs. Several original pieces have been written by Dexter Criss and other students as well.
PSGC actively performs on campus, in the community, and throughout the region averaging 25 appearances each year. The choir sings at a variety of settings including colleges, campus events, K-12 schools, churches, memorial services, weddings, and other community events. In 2014, the choir participated in its first Gospel Choir Competition held at the University of Binghamton; among numerous other competing college choirs around New York State, our choir placed second. In the past years, the choir has performed in Burlington, Albany, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Little Rock/Stuttgart, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Tokyo, and St. Maarten/St. Martin.
The choir’s band members are exceptional musicians from the greater Plattsburgh and Burlington area. The choir has collaborated with trumpeter Ray Vega, gospel guru Darius Brooks, and clinicians such as Dr. Raymond Wise, Dr. Anthony Leach, and Ron Rucker of Japan among many others. The choir has appeared on several TV shows including the WORD Network and Mountain Lake PBS.