One Voice, a choir made of 10 students, is both an educational music program as well as a ministry.
Dr. Matthew Crosby, a university alum, is the choral director.
The group is a scholarship choir that represents the university at various community events and high schools and travels across the world sharing their faith through song.
The choir leaves town two weekends a month, mostly travelling to area churches.
Crosby has lead the group for seven years.
He said, “This year, it was a goal of mine to sing at everybody’s church that was in the group.”
Senior Leslie Cross has been a member for three years.
She said, “I think for the group to go to a member’s church helps them know the person more and have a better understanding.”
It was fun for her fellow choir members to visit her home church.
“(My) being African American, they didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
One Voice also holds several concerts on campus and takes part in Easter Pageant.
Cross said the choir does more than “getting UMHB’s name out there” and recruiting new students.
“First and foremost, we are showing Christ,” Cross said. “It’s a ministry.”
In addition to spreading the word about the university, Crosby believes their purpose remains a ministry.
“It’s really important to me to keep the mission of what we do Christ
centered because it just helps with the unity and helps us to grow as Christians and as a group,” he said.
Freshman church music major Cameron Roucloux said One Voice helped him adjust to the transition to college life.
“It was really like going from one family environment into another one,” he said. “It’s just been a really big blessing for me. The people in there are genuine.”
Crosby tries to schedule an international trip one year, and the next the group records a CD. This summer, they plan to go to Spain and Portugal on
a 12-day trip. The group will perform and assist missionaries in the area.
The opportunity to travel is special for choir members. The farthest away from home Roucloux has been is the Mexican border.
“I haven’t been overseas,” he said. “I haven’t ridden on a plane for that long before, so I’m really excited.”
Contrary to popular belief, students do not have to be music majors to be part of One Voice.
“I think music is a big part of anyone’s life,” Cross said.
With the common ground of enjoying music and sharing faith, not being a music major shouldn’t keep someone from auditioning.
Cross said, “I would definitely encourage non-music majors to do it. (Crosby) says it brings sanity to the group – to all of us music majors.”
Crosby also encourages anyone interested to audition.
“We sing … different kinds of styles, and that’s representative of being
both a music department ensemble, as well as a student body ensemble,” he
Many responsibilities come with the position. One Voice members practice three hours a week, and are also required to be active in concert choir.
Roucloux said, “There’s a lot that comes with it, but it’s definitely worth all that you have to sacrifice for it.”
Previous university president Dr. Jerry Bawcom and his wife Vicky are avid supporters of the choir.
Cross said, “It’s good to see his face in the audience when we’re at events.”
In addition to attending the choir’s concerts, the Bawcoms made it a yearly tradition to take the One Voice members to Stagecoach Inn.
“It was just a really good time to get to know them personally,” Cross said.
“They would be the first people to hear our new songs for the year.”
University President Dr. Randy O’Rear and his wife Julie have also shown support.
Roucloux said, “One day at Hardy, I was eating lunch and (he) and his wife came over and sat down with my friends and I, and ate lunch with us… and talked.”