The Naval Academy Business Services Division (NABSD) is fortunate to support over 140 clubs and activities for the Brigade of Midshipmen. From music to sports to academic groups to community service organizations and more, these extracurricular activities (ECAs) are an integral part of life at the Naval Academy, providing the midshipmen with outlets for creativity, chances to strengthen other talents and places to forge strong friendships and build lasting memories of their time here.
One of the more memorable moments for an ECA was on January 18, 2009 — when the USNA Gospel Choir performed their soul-stirring music on one of of the largest stages imaginable — President Barack Obama’s Inauguration Concert “We Are One,” a star-studded event that took place on the historic and sweeping steps of the Lincoln Memorial for a live audience of over half a million people. This same Gospel Choir also represented the United States on a concert tour throughout South Korea.
A Wealth of Places, A Wealth of Faces
Led by Mr. Michael Scott, an accomplished musician in his own right, the USNA Gospel Choir has performed both traditional and contemporary music in a head-spinning number of cities and places, including Atlanta, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Detroit, San Diego, Key West, Orlando, Miami, Pensacola and Bermuda — at churches, schools and community centers throughout. This musical ensemble’s exuberant style is highly contagious, and they bring heart-lifting joy and inspiration wherever they go.
The Gospel Choir is a testament to inclusion too, welcoming an amalgamation of midshipmen that represent a variety of hometowns, races and creeds, and creating a choir that brings these diverse voices together to celebrate the many passions and backgrounds of the Brigade. They all come together to share their talents and offer up their praise through song. A select group of exceptional members is the Voices of Praise group, a small breakout ensemble that “raises up their voices with inspiring song and adoration.” Both groups provide an experience you won’t soon forget, and you can usually catch the Gospel Choir performing at Naval Academy events throughout the year, including the Second Class Parents Weekend Concert, the USNA Black History Month Concert and USNA Commissioning Week, among many others.
The Leadership of Mr. Michael Scott
With over 20 years of experience, Mr. Michael Scott brings tremendous knowledge and talent to the group’s leadership. He’s an incredible musician who received his Music Education degree from the University of the District of Columbia and his Music Technology degree from the Levine School of Music. Mr. Scott was also honored to study Choral and Gospel Music under former Naval Academy Gospel Choir Director, Dr. Joyce Garrett. Under her tutelage, he performed for every President of the United States since George H. W. Bush — at events including inaugurations, Christmas in Washington and The Kennedy Center Honors.
Currently serving as the Director of Music and Fine Arts for the historical Union Temple Baptist Church, he wears a number of hats. In addition to directing the USNA Gospel Choir, Mr. Smith plays the Hammond B-3 organ, all keyboards, drums, bass guitar, and a number of other instruments. He is also adept at music arranging, vocal instruction and producing live and studio recordings. With an eclectic but polished style, Mr. Scott’s performing career has taken him to esteemed venues like the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the historic Howard Theatre, the legendary Blues Alley and Central Park Summer Stage in New York City, as well as many famed international musical venues. He has had the opportunity to work with a number of well-known artists, including Israel Houghton, Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Bishop Marvin Sapp, Bebe Winans and Tonex, among others.
Experience Their Deeply Spiritual Sound
At the Naval Academy, Mr. Smith and his Gospel Choir’s unique and soulful sound continues to move and inspire concertgoers. The next time you’re on the Yard, try to catch one of their popular concerts. In the meantime, you can hear their recordings and let them transport you to a divine space.
The NABSD is proud to support the USNA Gospel Choir and many other talented organizations. When you visit the Yard, dine in our restaurants, shop in our stores and spend time here, you’re supporting them too, since all profits from these proceeds go directly to the Brigade of Midshipmen and their clubs, activities, supplies and more. We love giving back to the Brigade. Raising us all up is certainly something to sing about!