Alumnae Profiles: Sarah Stephens, C'2007
It’s My Choice, and I Choose to Change the World
When the song “A Choice to Change the World” is sung at any Spelman event, it gets the crowd swaying and rocking, clapping their hands and stomping their feet. At the annual Christmas Carol Concert, the house cannot wait to hear the seasonal favorite “We Are Christmas.” The lyrics for both songs were written by Sarah Stephens, C’2007. Kevin Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of music and director of the Spelman College Glee Club, wrote the music for the pieces.
When she talks about the songs, she gives the credit to her collaborator Kevin Johnson. “Dr. Johnson has been such a great supporter of me since I came to Spelman,” said Stephens, who is rooted in gospel music. “He really supported me, and I would ask him why do you have so much faith in me?”
According to Johnson, that faith came from the two of them having such a great working chemistry. “Sarah is gifted, and her gift is a gift that was not necessarily learned at Spelman,” said Johnson, who is working on another Christmas song with Stephens.
Currently, Stephens is busy starring in the role of Dorothy in “The Wiz,” for the Black Repertory Co. in St. Louis. She is also working on her second gospel album with her high school gospel group God’s Chosen. Check them out on myspace.
When she’s not playing Dorothy or recording, she is teaching voice and piano at the J. Oscar school of Music in St. Louis, but nothing replaces her love of singing.
“What I really like is to stand up in front of an audience with a microphone and not worry about blocking or how you move around the stage,” said the daughter of a gospel preacher. “I just want to stand there and sing songs and move people, and be the woman God wants me to be.”
Stephens, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Spelman, was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Her musical credits include the Bethesda Temple Youth Choir, McCluer High School Concert Choir and Honors Orchestra (clarinet), the Spelman College Glee Club, and past participant of the international Golden Gospel Singers.
In 2008, she was afforded the opportunity to sing at one of the nations' most notable African American theaters, the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater, in a highly acclaimed show entitled Tell Me Something Good. In 2009, she was chosen as one of the featured singers for the Lutheran Evangelical Band led by Peter Mayer. And in 2010 she was selected as one of the singers in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Review produced by Lenny Klinger.
The Voice Behind Spelman's 'We Are Christmas'