Gospel Fest singers prepare for annual choir concert

By Lahmeik Stacey

The Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir, in association with the department of multicultural activities, will present its annual Gospel Fest at 6 p.m., on Feb. 12 at Waco Hall.

Gospel Fest – which holds the theme of “Moving Forward” this year – was first established in 1991 and has been glorifying God with increasing numbers each successive year.

In order to draw attention to and help finance Gospel Fest, the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir partnered with Pizza Hut this past Thursday, collecting 20 percent of all purchases made with the necessary Gospel Fest flier.

“Every little bit counts,” said Gospel Fest chairwoman and Fort Smith, Ark. junior, Brittany Hudson. “So, we are very thankful to those who helped out.”

Gospel Fest has attracted crowds of many people, from both the Baylor and Waco communities in past years. In the past, Gospel Fest has almost filled Waco Hall to capacity.

“Waco Hall has a capacity of 2,000 [people], and we once had 1,800 guests in attendance,” said Ronald English, adviser for the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir. “We typically get the most ticket sales the night before the show and at the door the night of.”

While fundraisers, fliers and ticket sales prove to be a huge part of presenting Gospel Fest to audiences, the hard work put into the event by choir members each year must also be remembered, for the members are also students with busy schedules.

“We have practices every Monday at 8 p.m. in Miller Chapel and will begin to rehearse even more as Gospel Fest approaches,” said senior, Britney Thornton, a member of the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir and former Gospel Fest chairwoman. “Everyone in the choir is really excited to see the audience and share the experience of praising God in such a powerful atmosphere.”

While many elements of this year’s presentation of Gospel Fest are still under wraps, Baylor’s Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir will be sharing the stage with the choirs from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of North Texas and Navarro College during this year’s presentation of Gospel Fest.

“Something we haven’t done before is Gospel poetry. We will be incorporating that into the show for the first time this year,” Hudson said. “And Gospel Fest will be amazing, as usual.”

While those involved in this year’s Gospel Fest presentation do not hesitate to demonstrate how excited they are for Gospel Fest, it is a bittersweet moment for some of the members of the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir who will be graduating at the end of the semester.

“I’m excited about Gospel Fest this year, but am also sad that this will be my last time participating,” Thornton said. “I know how much hard work goes into organizing the event and hope that it continues to be as life-changing and amazing as it has been in the past.”

Those involved in Gospel Fest do not want the performance to just be a concert.

On the contrary, the participants of the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir want those who attend to have a revelation of the true love of God.

Tickets for Gospel Fest 2011 cost $10 and are available for sale at the Baylor ticket office in the Bill Daniel Student Center or at Marilyn’s Gift Gallery, located at 818 Elm St. in Waco.