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BONUS POST: New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir

March 9, 2012

The New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir has had a rich history here at the University of Pennsylvania. In the academic year of 1998-1999 Ashon Crawley (C’ 02) founded The New Spirit of Penn or NSP, as it is more commonly known today. There was a previous gospel choir on campus, but because of logistical issues, it was soon dissolved. Mr. Crawley realized that there was a void here at Penn and started rehearsals in Du Bois (in a room now named the “Sonia Elliot Room”). NSP started out with five people at the first rehearsal, and by the end of the year there was about twenty singers.

The first public appearance of NSP was at the Inspiration’s 1998 fall show. In the spring, NSP its own concert. Another big event for NSP was the Ivy League Gospel Fest, hosted by Harvard in 1999 in which all Ivy League gospel choirs got together for a concert. In 2000, NSP hosted the event at Penn in Irvine Auditorium.

There was no true opposition to NSP. Ashon Crawley states, “we weren’t dogmatic or necessarily hyper-evangelical… we sang because we wanted to express our joy in song.”

NSP is still a haven for believers and nonbelievers alike to gather together and to express joy through song. NSP currently has approximately forty members, from every class, every school, and from all over the country and world. NSP performs a variety of music, including traditional gospel, medleys, hymns, and contemporary songs. The choir’s signature song is “Rock of Ages”, which is sung at every concert. NSP puts on two concerts an academic year- one in autumn and one in spring. NSP also annually puts on an annual Total Praise Café in the spring that invites local and campus talent to perform in an inspirational manner. NSP also does plenty of community service and holds community relations with many churches in the area.

Chantias Ford, C’14

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