UA Inspirational Chorale Prepares for Its 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Inspirational Chorale is one of the most successful diversity initiatives at the University of Arkansas. The ensemble began in 1977 when Harry Budd teamed with university administrators and students to create a space to honor music of the black tradition. During that time, the Inspirational Singers, as it was originally called, provided an opportunity for black students at the University to express their faith and culture through music. Following Budd's departure, the Chorale enjoyed continued success under the leadership of many dedicated student and faculty directors.

In 1990, Eddie Wade Jones was recruited to increase community visibility, participation, and musicianship of the ensemble. Under his leadership, the Inspirational Singers became an auditioned ensemble and a for-credit course within the Department of Music. He later changed the name the Inspirational Chorale to reflect this more formal structure. Jones served as the conductor of the Inspirational Chorale until his untimely passing in October 2014.

The Inspirational Chorale continues to keep the black sacred music tradition alive under the direction of Jeffrey Murdock. The ensemble provides a forum where university students, regardless of ethnicity, can perform the various genres of the tradition. The Inspirational Chorale is an integrated part of the Department of Music, the academic community, and the greater Northwest Arkansas arts community. As such, the Chorale has enjoyed an illustrious reputation on performance stages around the world. 

This year, the Inspirational Chorale celebrates its 40th anniversary! A week of exciting events has been planned to this momentous occasion, and we hope you will join us! This celebration of the past, the present, and the future will include a reception and banquet, tailgating, a worship service, and a workshop and concert with Grammy recording artist Richard Smallwood!


Wednesday, Oct. 18

  • (6 p.m.) – Welcome Mixer/Reception (Arkansas Alumni House)
  • (7 p.m.) – Banquet (Arkansas Alumni House)

Thursday, Oct. 19

  • (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) – Reunion Choir Rehearsal (Billingsley Music Building, Room 335)
  • (6 p.m.) – Reunion Chorus rehearsal with Richard Smallwood (Walton Arts Center)

Friday, Oct. 20

  • (7:30 p.m.) – Concert with Reunion Choir, Richard Smallwood, Kathy Taylor (Walton Arts Center)
  • (9:30 p.m.) – VIP Reception with Richard Smallwood (Walton Arts Center – Starr Theatre)

Saturday, Oct. 21

  • (Time TBA) – Tailgating before the Arkansas-Auburn game.

Sunday, Oct. 22

  • (9:30 a.m.) – Closing Worship Service (Faulkner Performing Arts Center)
  • (11 a.m.) – Closing Brunch (Faulkner Performing Arts Center)

If you would like to register for the reunion events, or if you would simply like more information, please visit Registration for the week is $65 and includes the mixer/reception, the reunion choir workshop with Richard Smallwood, tailgating, Sunday brunch, and the reunion T-shirt.

To purchase tickets for the concert, visit We hope you will join us for this momentous occasion!


Jeffrey A. Murdock, assistant professor
Department of Music


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