The Voices of GVSU are hosting their 30th anniversary reunion concert. The Voices came into play at a crucial time for its founder, Cassonya Carter. The “Voices” filled some critical voids related to faith, being homesick and for some, not being part of mainstream, college life.
“natz sound of choir”
“My faith really keeps me rooted and grounded and I found ten other students. We were on the same page they believed in the vision that I had and they joined with me and we started the Voices of GVSU.”
That’s Cassonya Carter… founder of the Voices of GVSU, a gospel choir now celebrating 30 years at Grand Valley. That’s not Cassonya’s only role however, she’s also the Senior Academic Advisor for the Kirkoff College of Nursing. Looking back, she says she never realized the impact the choir would have.
“Back then, I didn’t understand the whole gamut of what was happening. But now that I’m older, stronger, wiser. I look at how, when talking to students, even planning this, I see how I’ve gone from Cassonya, to C-C, to big sister, to auntie, and now I’m “momma C-C”. I did not realize that I was going to have that type of impact at that time. I just thought I was putting something together to help everyone maintain being here at Grand Valley and to give something positive.”
Cassonya says through the choir many found a place not only to express their faith… but it was a comfort zone for some African Americans who may have been having a hard time on campus at that time.
“So, to just see and to hear people share with me on how this impacted their life, how they would have left Grand Valley had it not been for the Voices. And I never thought of it in that realm at that time.”
So with 30 years behind them, the GVSU Voices continues on with a celebration. A great weekend of activities culminating with a Sunday concert, entitled “Anchored.”
“And, the way we came up with anchored, is being anchored as a Laker at Grand Valley and being anchored in Christ.”
And what makes it even more special says Cassonya, is the support she’s received from the University.
“My heart has just been overwhelmed. I’m not supposed to cry. With the support from the administration in helping celebrate this. The 30 years. Of really me volunteering my gifts and talents and my service to my alma mater. I am a Laker for a lifetime. I love Grand Valley.”