Keshena and Daniel

How We Met: Daniel and I were in the University of Illinois Black Chorus for 3 years together before we ever spoke. I knew his name, and he knew mine but that was it! It wasn’t until the beginning of the school year in 2011 that we began talking. I was struck by how humble and caring he was, and we started getting to know each other over the course of the school year. We officially started dating on June 2, 2012.

how they asked: Daniel and I had talked about engagement a lot, but he said we probably wouldn’t get engaged until September. Three weeks prior to the engagement, my friend Miriam text me and said we should go down to Champaign/ Urbana ( U of I Campus)  for the Black Chorus Concert ( we are alums of the choir) a day early so that we can have a girls night before the concert on Saturday.


I thought this was a great idea, so I went with it! She suggested we dress up, so that we could take pictures at our girls night.  The week of the proposal, Miriam and my friend Mary ( who was coming with us to the “girls night”) suggested that we get our nails done on that Friday before we headed out to dinner. I was totally against it, since I had just gotten a pedicure the week before, and I  just didn’t feel like getting a manicure that was going to last all of 2 days!

Even though I gave them a hard time about it, the second we got to Urbana, we all went to the nail shop to get our nails done. We headed to Miriam’s mom’s house to get ready after, so that we could go out to our girls night. While we were getting ready, Miriam mentioned that she had to stop by the Performing Arts Center on U of I’s campus to talk to Ashley ( one of the directors of the Black Chorus).

Now, this wasn’t weird to me, because Black Chorus has their dress rehearsals the night before their concert. We headed to Krannert Performing Arts Center before dinner, and as I walk backstage, I hear people singing. I thought the rehearsal was going on! I also saw a red carpet with flower petals, but I still thought that was for the concert the next day. I took a peek on stage and saw my boyfriend, Daniel. I thought it was strange that he was standing on stage during rehearsal, and I thought it was weird that he was motioning for me to walk on to the stage in the middle of rehearsal!

Finally, he walked off stage to come and get me, and as I walked on stage I heard a song by Fred Hammond entitled ” You’re So Beautiful” ( which is a song Daniel says describes me), and saw tons of people that I knew…including my mom and brother! At that moment, I said to Daniel, ” Wait what is going on?!” Daniel said, ” This is a proposal!” I immediately went into shock mode, as he walked me to the piano where there were red roses and a journal waiting for us.11150288_10153212228393664_2091857380616409153_n
He shared our relationship verse, John 14:23, and began to share about the reasons why he wanted to marry me ( I don’t really know the reasons because I was shocked at this point!). As the ensemble continued to sing, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was so happy, and he pulled out a beautiful ring that I had my eye on for a long time. After the proposal, our close friends and family who were all watching greeted us with hugs, smiles, and laughter.


Daniel  then told me he had food from my favorite restaurant on campus, Maize, catered and we got to spend the night with all of our friends and family who shared in such a great moment. Daniel picked the Krannert stage to propose to me because, 1. we were both in black chorus and had our concerts on that stage, and 2. I am a classical singer and LOVE the feeling of being on a stage… especially that one. I am still so overwhelmed that he put so much thought and detail into my proposal in order for me to feel loved. So many of our friends and family helped Daniel, whether it was buying food, taking pictures, distracting me so that I wouldn’t find out, and I am so thankful to all of them for being so wonderful to us!

Photographer: Charity Davis