Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir weaves together a family of more than 55 singers from a wide range of faiths, races, and cultures– joined in the mission to inspire joy and unity in all people through Negro spirituals and black gospel music. The choir and its dynamic director, Terrance Kelly, have captivated audiences across the world, from Israel to Norway to Australia to the Deep South, but they always stay true to their Oakland roots. No matter the venue, whether it’s the Paramount Theatre, San Quentin State Prison, Mercy Retirement Center, or even a small church in Selma, Alabama, the choir sings with the same passion and precision. When choir members hold hands in a circle before each show, they call out their wishes to send joy, love, and hope to everyone in attendance. And when the choir starts singing, audiences can’t help but jump to their feet, lift their hands, and allow the glory of the music to uplift them. 

Founded in 1986, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir emerged from a gospel music workshop led by Terrance Kelly at Living Jazz’s Jazz Camp West. Since then, the award-winning choir has performed with a variety of esteemed musicians, such as the San Francisco Symphony; Vanessa Williams; CeCe Winans; Joshua Nelson, the Prince of Kosher Gospel; the Five Blind Boys of Alabama; and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The choir also appears on Grammy-winning albums by Linda Ronstadt, MC Hammer, Tramaine Hawkins, and others. 

Terrance Kelly, Director

Terrance Kelly has garnered extensive musical credentials in both gospel and jazz music. His operatic range and joyous emotional feel for the music make him a popular soloist as well as an accomplished director, composer, and arranger. His credits include choral arrangements on albums by Linda Ronstadt and the Kronos Quartet and gospel arrangements of popular music for TV and video soundtracks. In addition, he wrote or arranged most of the music for each of the choir’s albums. Mr. Kelly received an Emmy Award for his choral arrangement of OIGC’s KGO-TV public service announcement. 

In 2005, he received the Local Heroes Award from KQED Television for his directorship of the Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir and was also honored at the Gospel Music Awards. In 2013, he was awarded the Dr. Edwin Hawkins Excellence Award. 

Mr. Kelly currently serves as Minister of Magnification at Oakland’s Imani Community Church. He has traveled as far as Australia and Israel to teach gospel music and, since 1982, has served as Gospel Choir Director for Jazz Camp West, hosted by Living Jazz. In addition to his other endeavors, he is a semi-regular member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus. 

His father, the late Ed Kelly, was an esteemed jazz and gospel pianist. His mother, the late Faye Kelly, was a gospel choir director and pianist.