Founded in 1986, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) arts organization, was born out of a gospel music workshop led by the exuberant Terrance Kelly at Living Jazz’s Jazz Camp West. It became an independent nonprofit organization in 1991. Since then, the award-winning Choir’s exquisite harmonies and stirring gospel repertoire have led to performances with a wide variety of esteemed groups, such as Joshua Nelson, the Prince of Kosher Gospel; the Five Blind Boys of Alabama; and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The Choir also appears on Grammy-winning albums by Linda Ronstadt, MC Hammer, Tramaine Hawkins, and others.
OIGC, a “treasured Bay Area institution,” was named “Best Gospel Choir” in 2006 and was the winner in the “Best Church Music” category in 2009 in the East Bay Express Reader’s Polls. Terrance Kelly was awarded the Dr. Edwin Hawkins Excellence Award in 2013.
In addition, OIGC supports an accomplished youth choir. Started in 1997, it was voted the Best Youth Gospel Choir in the 2007 Northern California Gospel Academy Awards. The group includes over two dozen members from diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. They perform at a wide variety of local and international events. The choir provides musical, educational, and social opportunities for Bay Area youth, as well as the chance for mentoring and scholarships.
The latest arm of the OIGC family is the Community Choir, which was established in 2013. This choir is now almost 200 members strong. Despite being a non-auditioned choir, OICC features a great degree of talent and enthusiasm. It meets once a month and performs several times throughout the year, including their summer gospel concert.
All three choirs perform at OIGC's Annual Holiday Concert at the Paramount Theatre, a spectacular event that is not to be missed!
2019: Bay Area Gospel Music Awards’ “Best Community or Church Choir”
2019: Terrance Kelly receives Bay Area Gospel Music Awards’ “People’s Choice Award”
2015: Voted "Best Arts Organization" in Oakland Magazine: Best of Oakland and the East Bay
2013: Terrance Kelly awarded the Dr. Edwin Hawkins Excellence Award
2009: Voted “Best Church Music” in East Bay Express: Best of the East Bay
2007: Youth Choir voted Best Youth Gospel Choir in the 2007 Northern California Gospel Academy Awards
2006: Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition presented by Congresswoman Barbara Lee for outstanding and invaluable community service
2006: Voted “Best Gospel Choir” in East Bay Express: Best of the East Bay
2005: KQED Local Heroes Award presented to Terrance Kelly for his work with the Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir
2005: Bread & Roses Certificate of Appreciation to Terrance Kelly and the Choir for over fifteen years of music service to institutionalized audiences
2005: Excellence in Sacred Choral Music award to Terrance Kelly from the Academy of Gospel Music
2003: First Annual Sweet’s Historic Ballroom Musical Soul of Oakland Award
2003: California Music Awards Special Recognition for Excellence in the Performance of Gospel Music and the Preservation of its Heritage
2003, 1997: Outstanding Director of the Year award to Terrance Kelly from the Academy of Gospel Music
2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997: Best Community Choir of the Year award from the Academy of Gospel Music
2001: Bay Area Religious Announcers’ Guild Certificate of Appreciation
1998: Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Arts Organization of the Year Award
1997: Gold Award for promotion of cultural understanding through music from the International Music Festival
1995: Terrance Kelly awarded an Emmy for his choral arrangement of the Choir’s KGO-TV public service announcement
1990, 1989: Best Performance of the Evening award from the Academy of Gospel Music
The Choir has also received awards and recognition from city, state, and federal agencies, the JCPenney Awards Program, and the Clorox Foundation Community Commitment Awards Program.
OUR MISSION: The mission of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir is to inspire joy and unity among all people through black gospel and spiritual music traditions.
WE ACCOMPLISH OUR MISSION BY:
· performing black gospel and spirituals with a diverse group of people
· creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion
· modeling and inspiring unity by the diversity of our membership and our joyful performance
· providing young people with positive youth development opportunities rooted in spiritual and gospel music education
· delivering a musical experience to institutionalized and underserved audiences, including performances at prisons, shelters, and schools
· serving the general public with free and low-cost performances
· performing at public, artistic, faith, and commercial events
· assisting other nonprofit organizations in their outreach efforts
· bringing together a culturally and ethnically diverse audience at self-produced outreach events
· collaborating on cross-cultural musical projects
· inspiring and educating the public about the cultural, historical, and political context of spirituals and gospel music
· engaging in special projects, including the Biennial Music Workshop, recordings, and tours
· touching hearts and minds through our performances
OUR VISION: OIGC sees a world where all people, regardless of social biases, will tap into their own power of spirit and joy, be comfortable with each others’ differences, and celebrate those differences in harmony.
· the power of the human spirit and its ability to transcend limitations and biases
· the building and sustaining of a diverse and inclusive community that embraces all people
· personal and organizational responsibility for modeling integrity, respect, and peace
· our role as a positive example within the interfaith community
· the black gospel and spiritual music traditions
· music as a tool to educate and strengthen community
· that song has the power to transform lives and to unite people across differences
· that a culture of inclusion challenges each of us to be a positive agent of change
· that in striving to be a culture of inclusion we serve as a model of a greater vision for the world
· in the value of service to the community and the world
· that everyone has a unique voice, and that every voice is important
· that when communities take active responsibility for the struggles, as well as the successes, of all people, communities are more likely to thrive
OAKLAND INTERFAITH GOSPEL CHOIR STAFF
Maren Amdal - Interim Executive Director
Terrance Kelly - Artistic Director
Sophie Gardner - Operations Director
Isa S. Chu - Development Manager
Sandra Lawson-Ndu - Marketing & Social Media Contractor
Michele Simon - Bookkeeper
Julie Kanter - Grant Writer
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael Gooding- President Carl Resnikoff - Vice President
Bernadette McDonald - Secretary
Pauline Marx - Treasurer
Nicolia Gooding- Director
David Page - Director
Nancy Smith - Director
Dr. John White - Director
Terrance Kelly - Ex Officio, Artistic Director
Father Jayson Landeza
Maestro Michael Morgan
BOARD MEMBER EMERITUS
Mary Ford - Board Member Emeritus
Jack Mahan- Board Member Emeritus
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Maren Amdal (pronounced MAH-ren) has more than 15 years of leadership, development, and management experience in non-profit and arts organizations, including roles with San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and Calliope Women’s Chorus in Minneapolis, MN, among many others. Maren currently serves on several boards of directors, including Community Women’s Orchestra in Oakland, CA. As a consultant and facilitator, Maren brings extensive leadership skills and entrepreneurial success as well as strategic vision to her guidance of organizations in both the profit and nonprofit sectors.
Terrance Kelly has garnered extensive musical credentials in both gospel and jazz music. His operatic range and joyous emotional feel for the music make him a popular soloist as well as an accomplished director, composer, and arranger. His credits include choral arrangements on albums by Linda Ronstadt and the Kronos Quartet and gospel arrangements of popular music for TV and video soundtracks. In addition, he wrote or arranged most of the music for each of the choir’s albums. Mr. Kelly received an Emmy Award for his choral arrangement of OIGC’s KGO-TV public service announcement.
In 2005, he received the Local Heroes Award from KQED Television for his directorship of the Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir and was also honored at the Gospel Music Awards. In 2013, he was awarded the Dr. Edwin Hawkins Excellence Award.
Mr. Kelly currently serves as Minister of Magnification at Oakland’s Imani Community Church. He has traveled as far as Australia and Israel to teach gospel music and, since 1982, has served as Gospel Choir Director for Jazz Camp West, hosted by Living Jazz. In addition to his other endeavors, he is a semi-regular member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus.
His father, the late Ed Kelly, was an esteemed jazz and gospel pianist. His mother, the late Faye Kelly, was a gospel choir director and pianist.
OIGC typically performs more than thirty times each year, delivering a musical experience to institutionalized and underserved audiences at venues such as the Mercy Retirement Home and the Crossroads Homeless Shelter; serving the general public with free admission events such as the City Center Holiday Concert and Oakland Tree Lighting; and appearing at most major Oakland events, like the annual Art & Soul Festival.
The Choir remains on call for the community in times of need and assists other nonprofit organizations through performances at events such as the Break Bread Concert with Oakland East Bay Symphony, Living Jazz’s MLK Jr. Tribute at Oakland’s Scottish Rite Center, and Allen Temple AIDS Ministry. OIGC has performed at benefits for the Jewish Music Festival, Black History Month events, and the Alameda County Food Bank.
Some community partners include:
The Boys and Girls Club
Canon Kip Episcopal Homeless Shelter
Center for Elders Independence
The 100 Club
Oakland Firefighters Random Acts
San Quentin Prison
A Season for Non-Violence
McCullum Youth Court
Nike Women’s Marathon, benefiting Leukemia & Lymphoma Benefit Society
New Bridge Foundation
San Francisco Jail
Alameda County Food Bank
The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life
AIDS Project of the East Bay
OIGC's community service projects deliver musical experiences to institutionalized and underserved audiences; serve the general public with free admission events; benefit schools and fellow nonprofits; and present the Biennial Gospel Music Workshop and Annual Free Musical.