Black Voices of Inspiration

Black Voices of Inspiration

Established in 1975, Black Voices of Inspiration (BVOI) is an exceptional choir dedicated to the performance of spirituals, gospels and contemporary songs of inspiration by African American composers.

The choir is diverse, with a roster ranging from freshmen to graduate students representing various academic disciplines at Purdue University. By reinforcing a positive sense of cultural identity and self-worth, the choir provides an outlet for spiritual, creative, and educational fulfillment for its members. Twana A. Harris, Ph.D., directs BVOI. Harris is a music educator, composer, musician and vocalist from Indianapolis.

Since its inception, BVOI has become one of the most widely respected vocal performance groups in the area. The choir has won several awards of excellence and toured extensively throughout Indiana, visiting other university campuses, metropolitan churches, civic organizations and elementary schools. BVOI members serve as goodwill ambassadors for Purdue at many university and community events.

The group has commissioned new vocal music arrangements from prominent composers/arrangers like Kirby Shaw and has performed for South African Prince Cedza Dlamini and rising gospel artists like Kierra Sheard and Terrell Hunt. The rich and powerful sound of BVOI, along with the group's rousing musical interpretations, leaves audiences captivated, stimulated, motivated, and inspired.

James Dekle

Artist-in-residence, James Dekle

James Dekle is a native of Statesboro, Georgia. Dekle came to the Black Cultural Center from Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as Choral Director for the Dekalb Early College Academy and the Atlanta Music Project, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides intense music education for underserved youth. James Dekle received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, FL, and a Master of Music Education degree from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.

Dekle brings an extensive musical background to the Black Cultural Center. As a performer, he was a member of the “World Renowned” FAMU Marching 100 Band, Concert Choir and The Connection, a performing arts group dedicated to university recruitment. His involvement with the Concert Choir led him on several national and international music tours including the Bahamas and Ethiopia, where choir members performed with Lauryn Hill, The Marley Brothers and the I3’s featuring Rita Marley. In addition to opportunities with the choir, Dekle provided background vocals for R&B and gospel singer Kelly Price in 2005 and toured Spain as a soloist/musician for The Florida Singers in 2006. From 2009 to 2011, Dekle was the lead in a Christian based musical The Gospel According to Tennessee with Narroway Productions of Charlotte, North Carolina. Also in 2009, he released his debut album Purpose, a positive music CD for youth. In 2013, as a songwriter, Dekle won a songwriting competition hosted by the Georgia Music Industry Association for his original composition Spirit of Christmas.

As a Choral conductor, James Dekle has prepared superior choral programs with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (NC), Dekalb County School District (GA), and The Atlanta Music project. He also brings sixteen years of experience as a musician/director for several church choirs throughout Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina.

Dekle is a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America. He also maintains membership with the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education and the Georgia Music Industry Association.

Purdue's Black Voices of Inspirational gospel choir joined forces with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra to present a unique concert on April 5, 2014. This is one song from that performance.