'Credo' Virtual Choir Anthem

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The Virtual Choir Project was coordinated and directed by Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson, Executive Director for Worship Resources and Director of Liturgical Resources at Discipleship Ministries, a General Agency of the United Methodist Church.

About the composer, Dr. Robert Ray. Jr.

Dr. Robert Ray, Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in his native hometown.  He was bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Music from Vincennes University. Dr. Ray is a graduate in piano performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.                               

As a concert pianist, he performed as guest artist with the Seoul Symphony, and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, accompanist with legendary performers such as Robert McFerrin and Dr. William Warfield. After 15 seasons as sole director of the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, Ray retired in January, 2010.

Professor Ray has travelled the world conducting his nationally and internationally known compositions The Gospel Mass, The Gospel Magnificat, and He Never Failed Me Yet.

Through his acquaintance with Father Clarence Rivers, a nationally known Catholic Priest, composer and creative liturgical design, Professor Ray developed the concept of the Gospel Mass. The text is a paraphrase of the Apostle’s Creed from the Catholic Mass. Ray includes many of the rich improvisatory elements of the Black Gospel idiom in this heart stirring work. One of the unique, unusual features of this third movement, “Credo”, is the  a cappella choral introduction that replaces the typical instrumental introduction expressed in this genre.

It is important to stress here that the idiomatic character of Black Gospel music styles tend to make space for “in-the moment” extemporization which also gives permission and freedom to move away from the printed score. For that reason, rarely will compositions like Dr. Ray’s Gospel Mass be performed the same way.

Discipleship Ministries is pleased to share this video version of this dynamic anthem. Our hope is that it will add inspiration and joy to your virtual worship celebrations. While this video of “Credo” was designed to be used on Heritage Sunday, it would also be an appropriate addition to a Pentecost service, or even Trinity Sunday. 

The Virtual Choir Project was coordinated and directed by Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson, Executive Director for Worship Resources and Director of Liturgical Resources at Discipleship Ministries, a General Agency of the United Methodist Church. 

Special Thanks to Discipleship Ministries Strategic Programming Staff, especially the Worship Resources Team: Dr. Diana Sanchez Bushong, Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, and Ms. Carol Ann Smolka. Our gratitude to Minister Monya Logan (accompanist) and the instrumental music ministry from St. Luke Community UMC in Dallas, Texas, and The Virtual Mass Choir made up of gifted singers representing national, international, and ecumenical faith communities from around the globe.