Who is the Raise Chorale?

The Raise Chorale comprises 60+ singers from the Raise Mass Choir, The Ohio State University Gospel Choir, Denison University Gospel Choir, and selected members from Columbus Community. Singers were auditioned from each group to develop a special choir for this recording project.

The Raise Chorale was established in 2004 to prepare an African American Concert Spirituals concert for Black History Month. The Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Raymond Wise, is comprised of singers from the Raise Mass Choir, Denison University Gospel Choir, Ohio State University Gospel Choir, and Columbus community who were auditioned or selected from the various groups.

The Raise Chorale performs a cappella concert Spirituals arranged/composed by Dr. Raymond Wise. Dr. Wise, a native of Baltimore, Md., is the son of C. Dexter Wise Jr. and Rev. Julia Virginia Wise. He began his musical career at three, singing gospel music with his family singing group "The Wise Singers." As a fourth-generation musician, Wise was exposed to and performed oral, congregational, and gospel spirituals early. Wise was educated through the Baltimore City Public School System and graduated from the Paul Laurence Dunbar Community High School in 1979. As a member of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Chamber Singers and Concert Choir, Wise was exposed to and trained in African American Concert Spirituals' performance by director Hugh W. Carey.

Wise began arranging Concert Spirituals and composing new songs that retained 'the spirit" of the Oral Spiritual and "the style" of the Concert Spiritual. The fruit of his work in this area has resulted in a project entitled "21 Spirituals for the 21st Century." Dr. Wise intended to make the Concert Spirituals more accessible to choirs and groups that might not be exposed to them or regularly perform them. In addition, he wanted to arranged spirituals for formally trained choirs and groups who have consistently performed Spirituals. Finally, he wanted to provide something for choirs of all musical abilities, so the Spirituals in the "21 Spirituals" collection range from simple and moderately difficult works to extremely challenging works.

In 2005 the Raise Chorale released a CD of Dr. Wise's spiritual arrangements entitled "21 Spirituals for the 21st Century." In addition, Dr. Wise also released a songbook and choral music series containing the choral arrangements. Since the release of this project, Dr. Wise's arrangements have been performed by college, high school, church, and community choirs across the United States and abroad.

The 21 Spiritual's concert features selections from the "21 Spirituals" recording along with the stories and narratives upon which the songs are based. The Chorale hopes this collection will help preserve the cultural and musical heritage of Spirituals into the 21st century and beyond. Moreover, they hope that the "God," "Spirit," and "message" within these Spirituals will speak to man's struggle for faith, hope, and assurance in the 21st century. So be inspired and encouraged as you listen to "21 Spirituals for the 21st Century" featuring Dr. Raymond Wise and the Raise Chorale.

Original Raise Chorale Members
Soprano I
Freda Abbot-Ayodele   Community
Rebecca Cummings     OSU
Grace Francis               Community
Ruth McNeil                  Raise
Janelle Montano           OSU
Patrice Turner               OSU
Dawnne Wise               Raise
Soprano II
Anita Bell                    OSU
Rae Brown                 Community
Cynthia Gilbert           Raise
La Keitha Johnson     Community
Sandra Jones             Community
Jeanette Roper           Raise
Merin Singleton          Denison
Sharon Talbert           Raise
Alto I
Laura Bracken            Denison
Alisa Johnson             Community
Kathryn Kramer          Denison
Bonnie Lane               Raise
LaRita Smith               Community
Noelle Warford           Denison
Alto II
Andrea Adams            Community
Brenda Bowman         Community
Arianna Howard          OSU
Olivia Nathan              Community
Paula Sellers              Raise
Leslie Williams           OSU
Tenor I
Roderick Aldrige        Community    
Vincent Briley             Denison
Vickie Callander         Raise
Frank Cleveland         Community
Jeremy Harmon          OSU
Kevin Holland             Raise
David Jordan              Community
John Nathan               Raise
David Powell              OSU
Jared Roper               Denison
Tracey Sumner          Raise
Tenor II
Karen Alsbrooks         Raise
Fran Banks                 Raise
Frank Bassett             Community
Cindy Chabot             OSU
Cynthia Gowens        Raise
Anthony Hayward      Raise
Adam Maynard          OSU
Curtis Plowgian          Denison
Kyle Stephens            OSU
Roy Sutton                 Raise
Tim Cooper                Denison
Andrew Horton           Community
Saidue Karmo            Community
Michael Rowland       Raise
Dwight Ware              Raise
Chris Cowie                Denison
Brett Ferguson            Denison
Taylor Ferguson         Denison
Frank Lane                 Raise
Chris Mattox               Raise

Recorded live in Swasey Chapel on the campus of Denison University, Granville, Ohio.  Doug Moran, John Wirtz, Engineers.
Mixed by John Wirtz & Raymond Wise.
Digital Editing and Mastering by John Wirtz.
Photography by Jerid Davies.  Cover art design by Designs etcetera/Linnie Haynesworth.