IMG_2620Jon Westbrook, Jr. directs the choir in this undated photo.

The Black Celestial Choral Ensemble was founded in the spring semester of 1977. The first meeting was held in mid-April at the Student Activities Center. Some of the students felt a need for some type of cultural outlet for Black students on the Syracuse University campus. It was felt that a spiritual sense of well-being was lacking within the Black community and by establishing a choir, this need would be met. So being very optimistic, a number of students came together in the hopes of establishing a gospel choir. This meeting was attended by Seretta McKnight, Ervin Allgood, Lawrence A. Ford, Pamela Hayes, Cheryl Lane, Parrese Wade, Norman Lyons, and a few other key students.

After the initial meeting, a name was chosen: The Black Celestial Choral Ensemble of Syracuse University. By September 1977, approximately ninety students had developed interest in the choir. On October 9, 1977, just two weeks after the first rehearsal, BCCE made its debut on the Syracuse University campus. Since then, the choir has been blessed both numerically and spiritually. The choir consists of a diverse group of members including undergraduate and graduate students, whose goal is to encourage, bring life, and most importantly to lift up the name of JESUS CHRIST!