The Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir (AIGC) has been singing inspiring and uplifting Black Gospel music for more than a quarter century. The 60-voice community choir serves the North Coast region by performing at community events, fundraising benefits, memorials, churches and for inmates at the Humboldt County jail.
The mission of the AIGC is to inspire faith, hope, love, unity and joy through Black Gospel music. The choir exemplifies the principles of equality, unity and cooperation through multi-faith and multiracial choir membership.
The multicultural events in Arcata during May 1992 which were organized by Humboldt State University and CenterArts staff and volunteers, led to the development of the AIGC. Connie Stewart and other volunteers created the first Prayer Breakfast on the North Coast; Connie had recently attended a ministers’ wives Prayer Breakfast in Florida with her grandmother Henryne Goode. The acquittal verdict of the police in the beating of Rodney King occurred a day before the Prayer Breakfast and there was a widespread feeling of anger and powerlessness in those attending.
At the Prayer Breakfast in the Arcata Community Center, the impassioned speakers, Professors Nathan Smith and Caleb Rosado, and inspired singing from local vocalist, Karen Dumont, HSU’s Black Student Union Men’s Ensemble, directed by Lourin Plant, and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, moved many attendees to tears. A group of the attendees decided to form an interfaith gospel choir in Arcata to help heal the wounds and focus on hope, joy and community.
The AIGC began with a small group singing at the Arcata Presbyterian Church with Professor Lourin Plant as director. After Lourin moved to New Jersey to teach at Rowan State University in 1993, Karen Dumont took over as choir director. AIGC grew and thrived and has had a total of six directors since 1992. In 1999, choir member Ken Collins wrote the AIGC By Laws and registered the AIGC as a Non-Profit Corporation.
Over the years, the choir has moved its rehearsal space to the Arcata Methodist Church, Saint Albans Episcopal Church and finally back to the Arcata Presbyterian Church. In 1995, Karen Dumont founded the AIGC Youth Choir, which continues today, and in 1996, Assistant Director Seanna Willett founded.
The AIGC is looking forward to another anointed quarter century!