Gospel Fest to celebrate Heavenly Voices 30th anniversary

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

This Saturday’s annual Gospel Fest event will feature a variety of performances from universities across Texas, as well as Grammy-nominated vocalists The Walls Group. The event will also celebrate Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir’s 30th anniversary on Baylor’s campus with an alumni performance and reception.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Hippodrome and is planned through a partnership of Heavenly Voices and Baylor Activities Council (BAC). Chicago freshman Anja Smith, a member of Heavenly Voices involved in planning the event, is excited for attendees to experience live performances of Gospel music and to worship together through music.

“We invite multiple other choirs from across Texas to come perform along with us—we also have a main headliner this year with The Walls Group, a three-time nominated Gospel group. We also have a spoken word artist performing,” Smith said. “It’s just an awesome event that celebrates Gospel music, which may be something that not a lot of Baylor students are exposed to.”

Smith joined Heavenly Voices at the beginning of her freshman year and appreciates being involved in a welcoming campus group. Heavenly Voices performs several times a month and practices on campus Monday nights.

“I have always been singing in traditional choirs, and in high school I joined the Gospel choir at my church. When I came to Baylor, I found them at a booth my first week and they were so accepting and an awesome group of people,” Smith said. “I love Gospel music — it’s less about the choir and more about sharing the Lord.”

As a member of a smaller organization, Smith has appreciated partnering with BAC for the event, which she says was helpful in terms of planning and coordinating everything from performers to smaller details like posters or catering.

Fort Collins, Colo., freshman Savanah Smith, marketing coordinator for BAC, has also appreciated the partnership between the two groups, as well as the opportunity to learn more about Gospel music.

“It has been a great experience partnering with Heavenly Voices for this event—I’ve learned so much about the rich history and tradition that lies within Heavenly Voices and seen just how special of a choir this is,” Smith said. “With every event comes its obstacles yet working with Keiaron and Anja from Heavenly Voices made all of those obstacles seem small — their enthusiasm and passion for the event made our partnership simple and enjoyable.”

Savanah Smith hopes the event serves as an opportunity for the community to come together for a night of performances and praising God through music.

“Our hope for this year’s Gospel Fest is that the people who attend will have a great time praising and worshiping God while hearing some amazing Gospel music that for some can ignite a new love or interest in Gospel music,” Smith said. “Gospel Fest is a great opportunity to hear some amazing singers — including Grammy-nominated vocalists The Walls Group — and simply have a great night with great music and great people.”

Anja Smith also hopes Gospel Fest serves as a way for students to be exposed to Gospel music in the community and to unite together for a common purpose.

“We really want some good exposure to the community about Gospel music but also just to be able to come together and worship God in a way that people maybe haven’t before,” Smith said. “It’s also a way to unite the Waco community along with Baylor students, which is great. People are being united through similar music and there’s a bond created through music that’s inexplainable.”

Tickets can be purchased at baylor.edu/tickets, at the BDSC ticket office or at the event—tickets are $8 for students and $12 for non-students.