Prison choir lifts spirits

The six month old program is lifting spirits with song.

GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WCYB) – Music and faith have become regular activities for some Greene County prison inmates. The Workhouse is now home to a women’s gospel choir.

The six month old program is lifting spirits with song.  Women learning and practicing gospel music, and performing as a group.

Prison chaplain Reverend Clarence Gammell brought the idea forward.

“Thirty-five years of working with them, this is one of the best things I feel like we’ve done from a religious standpoint,” the reverend said. “Song is a gift from God, it’s part of our make up. I think in worshiping God and connecting with God, music and singing is such an important part of that.”

It’s part of a spiritual transformation for newest choir member Crissy Norton.

“I’m trying to do better,” Norton said. “I got saved recently, I turned myself in, I’m trying to have a better life.”

One song is accompanied by gestures, movement choreographed by Eureka Jordan. It’s one of the pieces they even get to perform outside jail, in churches and for special events.

“It’s just a great feeling,” Jordan said, “that we can come out and sing in front of everybody, praise God in front of everybody.”

The women often practice impromptu in lock up, brightening the atmosphere for all. Patricia Anderson said it gives her pride to sing alongside the others.

“It gives us something to look forward to,” Anderson said. “We’re sitting in the pod not doing anything so we go to the bathroom to practice so it echoes, so everybody can hear it.”

About two dozen women are involved and about half make trips to sing outside the jail. There’s also a new men’s choir.