The Power of Music


App State Gospel Choir, 1985

Gospel music is traditionally part of the fabric of many predominantly Black churches and the communities that make up their congregations, and this is also true for The Boone Mennonite Brethren Church (BMBC). As a Black Mennonite church, BMBC favors traditional gospel and contemporary Christian music over songs from Mennonite hymnals. Music is integral to the worship services at BMBC, with the majority of the time being dedicated to the songs that the choir performs. The choir invites participation from people of all ages, and can serve as a way for members to find not only a place in the community but themselves. 

As noted by choir member Lynn Patterson, gospel music also has the ability to connect across denominations. Music provides an opportunity for Junaluska Gospel Choir members to serve as advocates for the church and provide outreach in the larger community in Boone and beyond. With their performances at festivals like Boonerang and other town events, the choir can often be the first interaction that those outside of the Junaluska community might have with the church. 

One of those long standing connections is between the Junaluska Gospel Choir and the App State Gospel Choir. The App State Gospel Choir was formed in 1976 as part of App State’s Black Expo Week by retired App State Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Willie Fleming. The two groups forged a relationship through joint practices and concerts. Many App State Gospel Choir directors were also involved with the Junaluska Gospel Choir.


Junaluska Gospel Choir performing

The Power of Music