At 7 p.m. Saturday Carver Park Baptist Church will sound with gospel music sung by students from all over Texas.
The Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir of Baylor, along with the Department of Multicultural Affairs and the Campus Diversity Committee, presents the annual Gospel Fest tomorrow.
This gathering of music and worship will feature the voices of Dr. Michael McFrazier, a singer who graduated from Baylor and now works in administration at Prairie View A&M University, and Laquinta Pollard, founder of With My Whole Heart, a women’s and music ministry.
The festival will also showcase performances by gospel choirs from various universities in Texas. The University of Texas’ Innervisions, University of North Texas’ Voices of Praise and Texas A&M University’s Voices of Praise will perform, along with Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir.
Every year, gospel choirs from other universities join Heavenly Voices at the Gospel Fest for not only a performance, but a retreat of sorts. All performers arrive on location in the morning and enjoy breakfast, lunch and icebreakers before practicing for the show in the evening. A different clinician is featured every year and directs a final act with every university’s choir singing together. However, the choirs only learn the two songs, taught by McFrazier, two hours prior to the show’s opening. This musical improvisation fosters bonding through worship for all members involved.
“The opportunity of having choirs from all over Texas come and worship God together like that is something that’s really unique to Baylor,” said Puyallup, Wash., freshman Jorden Jorgenson, a member of Heavenly Voices.
Each gospel choir will perform one of its own songs before coming together to sing under the direction of McFrazier. Heavenly Voices will perform “Glory and Honor,” originally sung by the AME International Mass Choir.
Gospel Fest has taken place annually since 1991, welcoming guests and choirs from across the state for a day of worship. The Heavenly Voices choir itself was founded in 1988 to be an open place for students to worship and sing together. The choir meets 7 p.m. Mondays in Miller Chapel at 524 E. James St.
“Our founder believed that if anyone wants to worship, they should be free to do so,” said Denton senior Brittany Ladd, president of Heavenly Voices. “We were founded with a ‘no auditions’ motto. It’s come as you are, even if you don’t know how to sing yet.”
The same rule applies to their performances; anyone who wants to host Heavenly Voices for an event will not be turned down. The choir has performed at Chapel, other universities and even at President and Chancellor Ken Starr’s home for a Christmas service.
“We come together and it’s to glorify God. The audience is blessed, the members are blessed and that’s what we are here for,” Ladd said. “We want to create a space where the community, Waco, Baylor can come and worship God, and that’s our purpose in life.”
Tickets can be purchased online via Heavenly Voices’ Facebook page or at the door. Adult tickets are $15, and student tickets are $7. Children ages 10 and below are admitted free. Carver Park Baptist Church is located at 1020 Herring Ave.