The Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir (TCCGC), through its soulful interpretation of the African-American gospel music tradition, moves audiences spiritually and creates community across racial, cultural and economic boundaries.
We strive to perform to the highest musical standards, preserving and educating others and ourselves about traditional forms while exploring new musical avenues with African American gospel music. In this time of division and unrest, we strive to model community and reconciliation. We seek to bring people together with a message of hope and joy through our music.
TCCGC gathers singers of various musical experience, ethnic backgrounds and ages to celebrate the power of music. For some, TCCGC is a first foray into gospel singing. For others, this music is a way of life.
TCCGC uses gospel music to promote love, healing, and racial harmony.
LISTEN HERE to Artistic Director David Hurst on KBEM 88.5 talk about the choir!
Ed Newman came to the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir in 2016 bringing a lifetime of performance experience and choral music leadership. He is an experienced choir director and respected musician, with an impressive recording history with nationally celebrated gospel artists and choirs.
At the age of seven Ed started playing keyboard, performing professionally when he was 11 years old. He was invited to become a choral director and music director while still in high school.
Ed says, "I love the Twin Cities Community Gospel choir and their energy. When we perform live, it is very welcoming and spiritual.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Ed learned to play keyboard by listening to music on the radio. He began performing in talent shows in elementary school moving on to become the lead musician in his high school’s Black History Choir, which he led for four years, expanding it to community experience. Under the Rev. James Hudson, Morning Star Baptist Church, and the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) he gained skills in choral music direction and recorded a CD. At the age of 15 he was named minister of music for the Hours of Prayer Apostolic Church of God in Kankakee Illinois. He went on to work with Bobby Jones and Nu City Mass Choir, a branch of the Chicago Mass choir and many other gospel groups and performers.
Ed recorded a CD with Dr. Charles D. Hayes founder of the Chicago Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer. He went on to work with many other gospel recording artists including the Thompson Community Singers with Lee Anne Faine, Zarcardi Cortez and Beverly Crawford. He has appeared on multiple recordings, including You Nu City, available on Apple Music, where he composed the tracks Keep Holding On and Don't Give Up.
Six years ago Ed came to Minneapolis, where he has continued to work with leading gospel music artists including James Greer, the Triad Group, Jovonta Patton and Darnell Davis. He was recently invited to perform at the National American Baptist Convention in Minneapolis with Krista McKenzie.
Ed is currently producing songs and soundtracks, and performs for several choirs and churches in the Twin Cities. In addition to directing the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir, Ed is currently Director of Music for the Greater St. John Baptist Church and Minister of Music and Faith Deliverance Holiness Church.
Andrew Griffin, Associate Choir Director
Andrew Griffin, born in Chicago, IL., began work with the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir in 2016. He has been Concordia University’s Gospel Gospel Choir director since 2007 where he has worked with many local artists including Paris Bennett, Darnell Davis and the Remnant, and James Grear & Company. Since 2013 Andrew has also been the choir director for the Youth and Adult Choir at Morning Star Baptist Church where Reverend Carl Walker is the Pastor. While at Morning Star he began directing the Minnesota State Baptist Convention Choir.
Andrew graduated high school in 2006 at Luther High School South. In high school he was involved in the Chicago Children’s Choir from 2000 through 2006, with which ensemble he sang at the New England Conservatory alongside with the Boston Children’s Chorus for the Martin Luther King Celebration. Andrew continued his musical education at Concordia University in Saint Paul, earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music. While at Concordia University he performed with the Christus Chorus under the direction of Dr. David Mennicke, including in concerts in Ghana and South Korea.
Ed Newman is also the choir's Musical Director, setting the sound and feel of the performances. When the choir performs, Ed is often accompanied by some of the best gospel musicians in the city, providing the energy and groove behind the choir.
Just four months after its first rehearsal in 1990, this community-based, multi-cultural choir swept the competition to win first place in the prestigious Amateur Talent Contest at the Minnesota State Fair.
Amateur no more, the Choir returned to the State Fair a year later to present 13 concerts -- and completed its first professional studio recording that same summer. Since then, the choir has thrilled audiences at hundreds of events in venues as varied as the Historic State Theater, Central Baptist Church in St. Paul, the Ordway Theater, Red Wing Correctional Facility, and the Governor's Mansion.
Since its inception the choir has maintained its commitment to be a community resource, bringing its music and message to urban, suburban and rural communities.
President: Laura Tueting Nelson
Laura Tueting Nelson is a leader and team-builder with more than 20 years experience in helping people move ideas from information to action. Through effective use of communications skills, she focuses on finding individual strengths, group cohesion and community support across diverse populations.
Laura brings a broad background in public relations, marketing, and management from educational, non-profit and faith-based organizations. She has created and developed communications programs for local, regional and national organizations including Minneapolis Public Schools, Edina Public Schools, The National American Lutheran Church, and the YWCA. Her professional analysis and reporting work took her from the South Bronx to the Mexican border, and from Pine Ridge Reservation to south Florida migrant fields. Serving on as a volunteer providing direct service as well in organizational leadership positions, she has worked for fair housing, appropriate development and improved health services for all. Colleagues have called Laura a “ practical visionary,” bringing people and resources together around common goals.
Vice President: Jason Kapel
Jason brings a combination of a passion for music and professional experience in marketing, business and communication to the board. He currently is Director of Customer Experience at Prudential. He is also a musician and is proficient on guitar, bass guitar, piano and drums. He performs in an indie-rock band that has released its first album and performs locally and elsewhere in the U.S. Jason believes in the power of music to positively affect people's lives.
Secretary: Dr. Tracy Batsell.
Tracy Batsell has committed her life’s work to raising achievement and proving that all children – especially marginalized students of color – can achieve and achieve at high levels. During her 30 year career in education she has served in many capacities. She brings a career focus on program and youth development. She earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Metropolitan State University, her Master’s Degree in Education, a Master’s of Law Degree and a Doctorate in Education from Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN.
Tracy is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and the CEO of Promising Scholars of Tomorrow (PST) a non-profit organization that specialized in assisting student athletes with high school and college retention, matriculation, access and completion. As CEO of PST she has led ambitious initiatives to successfully narrow the achievement gap between student athletes of color and their white counterparts. As a result of these outcomes the students she worked with were accepted to college and completed their coursework. PST’s focus moving forward will be to assist students of color gain access to gifted programming while also creating culturally relevant gifted programs via solutions developed from programmatic research.
Treasurer: Sandy Famodu
A Certified Publc accountant, Sandy recently left a Director position at Global Tax Network to begin self-employed, project-based work. She serves as a board member at Global Minnesota as well as TCCGC. She has been a member of TCCGC's alto section since 2017 and has been serving on the fund development committee. She is a relationship builder and enjoys working collaboratively to achieve shared goals.
Members at Large
Michael is an attorney and the owner of WinLaw, a legal recruiting and placement business specializing in diversity staffing and legal staffing solutions with over 13 years of experience finding highly qualified attorneys and legal professionals for law firms and corporations. Michael is a father of three children, and is a tenor with multiple choirs, including the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir..
Executive Director: Jack Perkins
Jack is a retired educator, having served 25 years in both secondary and higher education. He has also spent the last ten years serving in multiple roles for various non-profits. He has also worked as a consultant to help individuals and organizations understand and cope with the effects of stress and trauma. Jack lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Karina, and their cat, Gus. They are the proud parents of four amazing children who live, work, and attend school in Georgia and Oklahoma.