The mission of the AIGC is to inspire faith, hope, love, unity and joy through Black Gospel music. We are a multi-faith, multiracial choir that seeks to exemplify the principles of equality, unity and cooperation.
Our 60-voice community choir has performed throughout the North Coast at community events, benefits, memorials, churches and for inmates at the Humboldt County Jail over the last quarter century.
A New Beginning
The choir was founded in May 1992 during a series of multicultural events in Arcata organized by HSU and Center Arts. Connie Stewart, who had recently attended a ministers’ wives Prayer Breakfast in Florida with her grandmother Henryne Good, came up with the idea to have a Prayer Breakfast in Arcata. This event was held at the Arcata Community Center. The prior evening had seen the acquittal verdict of the police in the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, and there was a widespread feeling of anger and powerlessness in those attending.
The Arcata Prayer Breakfast featured the impassioned speaking of Professors Nathan Smith and Caleb Rosado, along with local singer Karen Dumont, HSU’s Black Student Union Men’s Ensemble, and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. The event moved many of us to tears, but also to action. A group of attendees came up with the idea of forming 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, who directed the Black Student Union Men’s Ensemble, as their 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 seven directors since 1992. In 1999, choir member Ken Collins wrote the AIGC bylaws and registered the AIGC as a non-profit corporation.
In 1995, Karen Dumont founded the AIGC Youth Choir, which continues today, and in 1996, Assistant Director Seanna Willett founded the AIGC Teen choir. The choir rehearses at the Arcata Presbyterian Church on G Street.
The AIGC is looking forward to spreading hope, joy and peace to our community for another quarter century!