by Savana Robinson and Alina Ferguson
Walking through the Cal Poly Humboldt Student Activity Center quad, one might hear a voice singing spiritual hymns. Echoing up the stair of Founder’s Hall, the voice carries a sense of warmth. The singer Fred Bossman can be heard a couple times a week, usually in the mornings.
47-year-old Bossman studies physics at Cal Poly Humboldt with a focus in astronomy. He sings in public because he believes God told him if he sacrifices himself for the good of man, He will grant him unlimited power. Bossman wants to use this power to heal the world through singing.
He started singing at College of the Redwoods, but his favorite place to sing is the Arcata Plaza. He thinks it has a nice echo. Though he has no formal training, Bossman has traveled in states all over the west singing in public trying to spread warmth and joy.
“I have been singing for many years,” said Bossman. “It’s been a long time.”
Bossman has received mixed reactions from people about his singing.
“People have said that I sound beautiful,” said Bossman. “Other people have told me to be quiet.”
One day, he was singing in the quad at Cal Poly Humboldt and thought that a lady who was studying was irritated with his singing.
“I went up to her and told her I was sorry and she said, ‘No it was beautiful. Thank you,’” said Bossman.
Bossman said that he’s not trying to create problems.
“I’m just trying to do what I believe I’m supposed to do,” stated Bossman.
Bossman can get nervous when singing in public.
“It’s sometimes nerve-wracking because I don’t know what to expect,” said Bossman
Bossman used to wear sunglasses to help ease his anxiety, then, when the pandemic hit, he would wear a mask.
“Sometimes people would look around and not know who was singing until they got close to me,” said Bossman. “This was when I didn’t sound that good.”
“I used to scream,” said Bossman. “Over many years it turned into a harmony. At first, I didn’t know how to sing but I was just getting it out there.”
Now, Bossman takes the mask off so that his voice doesn’t sound muffled.
After struggling with a meth addiction, he found God at a low point in his life. He had woken up from being in a coma for seven days and was given a copy of the New Testament. It was just the sign he needed.
“The Lord has delivered me from methamphetamine, marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and gambling for over four and a half years,” said Bossman.
Growing up in an agnostic household, he does not belong to any specific denomination. He simply follows Jesus. He receives messages from God through prayer, visions and dreams.
Bossman said God showed him a vision of him winning a Nobel prize and becoming an astrophysicist, and he knows this is something he will do.
His favorite passage is the 91st psalm of the Book of Psalms: “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Bossman has 38 songs in his repertoire. All of the songs that he sings, he hears on K-Love, a Christian radio station based in Sacramento, California.
“I would hear a song and go home, look it up on the internet, learn the words and put it in my repertoire,” said Bossman.
Bossman’s favorite song to sing is “Glorious Unfolding” by Steven Curtis Chapman.