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Gospel Fest provides something for everyone

Gospel Fest provides something for everyone
October 10
00:00 2019

The first day of the 2019 Gospel Fest at the Dixie Classic Fair brought together a great collection of talent that people of all ages could enjoy. The six acts that performed on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 6, had the crowd going from start to finish.

The St. Paul United Methodist Church Mass Choir was first up to the stage. The traditional contemporary choir has performed at Gospel Fest multiple times and they did what they always do – performed well. Their set was filled with melodic harmonies that brought you back to your childhood growing up in the church.

The dance group Radical Reverence was next up. The group is comprised of Daniel Shegog, Jeremiah Tillery, Taylor Ellerbe, Gabrielle Caesar and Kenae McMillan and all are members of St. Paul United Methodist as well.

“Dance comes in many forms, so we try to bring it, whether it’s slow or fast, and we just try and bring it together,” said Caesar.

The group has been performing together for a while and say they are used to performing in front of large crowds, so there were no nerves.

“We danced here last year and we go to churches that put us in front of crowds that we don’t know, so I wouldn’t say we had any nerves, it just comes natural to us,” said Tillery.

Vocalist Alfred Clemonts was a big hit on Sunday as well. His mixture of gospel and R&B had many people saying, “Man he can really sing!”

“I don’t look at it more so as performing, but I look at it as a chance to minister and a chance to share with others what I am sharing with God at the same time,” said Clemonts. “When people say you’ve done a good job, I always say, ‘To God be the glory,’ because it’s me giving God the glory for giving me the gift to share with other people.”

Clemonts says the integration of R&B to his gospel music was intentional. He likes to incorporate different genres of music into his style of gospel, so he doesn’t get pigeonholed as one style of singer.

Possibly the biggest response from the crowd was toward Todd Curry & TLC. Their upbeat choir-style performance was a big hit for the audience. Almost everyone in the crowd was either bobbing their heads or clapping their hands during the performance.

“I have been in the industry for a long time and being a pastor now, I’ve learned it’s more about the ministry aspect,” said Curry. “I’m excited that this new choir we just formed and for them to get the concept that it’s bigger than me and it’s about touching people’s lives, touches me more than anything.

“We have ex-drug dealers, people who have been on drugs, and people who have literally been healed from cancer. All of this was up here singing and when they sing, it’s from the heart, so it’s not a game.”

Curry incorporated a go-go style beat into his performance. Go-go music is a popular style of music in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Curry says he used the beat to “capture everyone.”

Closing out Sunday’s performances was Willie Mason and Friends. A well-known group in the community, they charmed the crowd with their powerful vocals and testimonies through song. Willie Mason and Friends are scheduled to go on tour later this month.

Rasheed Davis was present for the event Sunday afternoon. This was his first time actually stopping by to watch the show, even though he has been to the fair several times.

“This isn’t what I expected when I walked in,” he said. “I saw the first choir and thought it was just a regular old choir show, but then I heard the other performers and wound up sitting down. The next thing I know, an hour had passed without me even knowing.”

Davis says he plans to come back next week, but won’t be alone this time. 

“I definitely plan to tell a couple of people from my neighborhood about this,” he continued. “I don’t think people really know how good this show really was.”

Gospel Fest will conclude this Sunday, Oct. 13, starting at 3 p.m. A new set of performers are slated to entertain the crowd, so come on out and enjoy the show.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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