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Campbellsville University to host ‘Amazing Tones of Joy’ Feb. 7 as part of Black History Month events

Campbellsville University to host ‘Amazing Tones of Joy’ Feb. 7 as part of Black History Month eventsBy Joan C. McKinney, director, Office of University Communications

The “Amazing Tones of Joy” will bring gospel music to Campbellsville University Thursday, Feb. 7, and everyone is invited.

The Western Kentucky University group of African-American students will perform at 7 p.m. in The Gheens Recital Hall in the Gosser Fine Arts Center, 210 University Drive, Campbellsville.

The concert is free and open to the public.

It is a joint Campbellsville University-Greater Campbellsville United Black History Month event and is underwritten financially by the CU Robertson Worship Fund. Yevette Haskins of Campbellsville arranged for the group to visit Campbellsville.

The Amazing Tones of Joy was formed in 1971 as a group of students came together for fellowship and, although it was not planned, they started singing.

Jackie Pillow, ATJ’s advisor and Western Kentucky University alumna, began advising the choir six years ago.

She said the group has continued making music for 47 years.

Meeting each Wednesday evening to practice mostly gospel songs, “ATJ is both a choir and a support group,” Pillow said.

“The students see the choir as a place where they can gain encouragement from one another. At the end of each rehearsal, they have a devotion and then share praise reports and prayer requests,” she said.

Pillow, through her leadership, has been able to be a mentor to those who have joined the choir.

Whitney King, president of ATJ, from Memphis, Tenn., learned about the choir during a student orientation visit at the student information fair. Like many in the group, she had sung in a church choir and school choir at home and was looking for a group to get involved with; King joined ATJ her first year at WKU.

Pillow said the student-run group is not affiliated with any particular religious group and members are from various denominations.

“However, they come together to sing all types of gospel music, from classics to newer praise and worship songs. They often sing a capella,” she said.

Having performed all around the region and state, ATJ is often invited to sing at churches and events. Whenever someone invites them to come, they try to fulfill the request. ATJ has participated in the Gospel Explosion competition in Louisville several times and have finished in first and third place.

Pillow said the choir is excited to be celebrating its 48th anniversary and will hold a concert to commemorate the event on April 13.

“This is a major milestone for a student organization,” Pillow said.

Dr. Gerald L. Smith, a distinguished professor of history at the University of Kentucky, will speak at Campbellsville University’s chapel Feb. 20 for the university’s Black History Month observance.

He serves as pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church in Lexington and is a historian of national renown relative to African American history, the life and legacy of King and the Civil Rights Movement. Smith is editor of the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia and author of numerous publications and articles.

Dr. F. Bruce Williams, senior pastor of Bates Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, gave the university’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Chapel Service Jan. 23.

Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,000 students offering more than 90 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has off-campus centers in Kentucky cities Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with Kentucky instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. The university also has a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.