The Gospel Ensemble was organized during the mid-60's by students of Kentucky State University. During its inception, the Gospel Ensemble started as a small student-run organization that practiced wherever they could. As membership and interest developed, it was determined by the university that the choir would best function under the guiding influence of a music faculty representative, thereby leading to the Choir becoming an official academic course under the Division of Fine Arts at Kentucky State University.
Student membership in the Gospel Ensemble is open to all students of the university and is representative of the diverse student body at Kentucky State University. The course objective is to provide an atmosphere where students can assemble and engage in wholesome activities. Also, the organization serves as a bridge between the university and church community. Through development of skills in the areas of singing, conducting, accompanying, and arranging, many members receive a foundation in preparation for professional careers in gospel music.
The choir performs a diverse repertoire, including contemporary and traditional gospel along with spirituals and anthems. As recipients of several awards, the Gospel Ensemble has inspired audiences everywhere. The choir has performed on numerous occasions for statewide special events such as gubernatorial inaugurations Kentucky Legislature events, and nationally recognized leaders for activities promoting social justice. In 1998, the choir was selected as Grand Prize Winners of the 1998 Creme of Nature HerbaRich Gospel Choir Competition sponsored by Revlon Inc. As Grand Prize winners, the choir traveled to New York City for a commercial recording session with gospel recording artist, Kurt Carr. Recently, the choir was awarded first place in the 2008 Louisville, Kentucky College Choir Explosion. The Gospel Ensemble will celebrate its Forty-Year Gospel Ensemble Reunion in April 2009 and continues to serve as ambassadors for Kentucky State University.
The choir functions under a faculty advisor, Dr. Leon Richard who is professor of music at Kentucky State University. Sheniqua Grayson serves as student director of the choir.