My name is Dan Ankenman, and it is my great honor and blessing to be serving as an intern for OIGC this summer. I just finished my junior year at Brigham Young University where I am studying Commercial Music. OIGC has opened my heart and mind and given me so many opportunities to grow and reach out to others. I am elated to help OIGC and its members in any way I can as they seek both to attain musical excellence and their timely and overarching mission of unity in diversity.
My association with OIGC began over 10 years ago when I joined what was then the Oakland Interfaith Youth Gospel Choir. It was life changing for me as a young teenager to see the power our music had to touch those around us and to unify us so completely in the common purpose of bringing light and joy. Our differences in terms of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or any other quality that might have otherwise separated us instead only increased the power of the message we brought of rejoicing in our common humanity and the power of love between people.
I have seen that this pure love and power to profoundly impact communities for good is the very heart and soul of OIGC. I am deeply indebted and grateful to Terrance Kelly, not only for helping me to transition from my beginnings in the choir as a preadolescent soprano to now being a bass but for helping me see how music can bring love, peace, and understanding whenever and wherever the parties are willing.
This internship has come at a very special time for me. It was wonderful to serve as a production assistant for OIGC’s concerts with the phenomenal Norwegian Choir SKRUK. This was a meeting of two worlds for me in a unique way as I lived in Norway for two years serving as a missionary for the LDS church after graduating from high school. These concerts showcased an eclectic set of hymns and spiritual music. The versatility and virtuosity of both choirs was astounding, but what stood out to me was what I felt as I saw dozens of people who many may see as different be united in song.
I am excited for the opportunities that are in store for OIGC and for me throughout the rest of the summer. With the bulk of the summer performance and rehearsal schedule behind us, I will continue to hold regular hours at OIGC’s offices where I will assist with day-to-day operations as well as with cataloging the choir’s repertoire. I am grateful to be able to help OIGC in accomplishing its mission of making a joyful noise and bringing people together in love. My love and best wishes to all of you.