Cheap Weekly: Gospel music fest

1-9 50th years of Browning Center (Kaitlyn Johnson) (13 of 13)
The Hill Air Force Base Inspirational Gospel Choir will be one of the choirs featured in this year’s Gospel Music Festival. (Kaitlyn Johnson/ The Signpost)

For 15 years local gospel choirs have come together for the Gospel Music Festival to celebrate their beliefs and culture through music. This year’s Gospel Music Festival will be held Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Austad Auditorium of the Val A. Browning Center on Weber State University’s campus, and it’s free.

The Gospel Music Festival involves choirs from all over Ogden showcasing gospel and spiritual music. A few of the choirs involved are WSU’s Chamber and Concert choirs, Kids Are Music, Calvary Baptist Church, New Zion Baptist Church and Unity Choir.

Each year the Gospel Music Festival picks a new theme. This year’s theme is “Make a Joyful Noise: Food for the Soul.”

The theme was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Poor People’s Campaign,” which started in 1968 with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to “demand economic justice and human rights for poor Americans of diverse backgrounds,” said Marcus Jensen with the office of Marketing & Communications.

A food drive will be held during the concert, so while the event is free, those who attend are encouraged to bring canned food to help restock depleted food bank shelves.

Unlike music usually heard during WSU choir concerts, which typically requires audience members to sit quietly and clap only at specified times, the Gospel Music Festival encourages the audience to get involved. Choir masters often ask the audience to stand, dance around or sing along with the choir.

“This wonderful event is family friendly, and it provides an opportunity to be together in a positive way,” said Adrienne Gillespie Andrews, director of WSU’s Center for Diversity and Unity. “If we don’t speak the same language, that’s OK. Music is an international language, and the feeling of the music is something we can all share together. We anticipate having another fantastic celebration that will also bring us together to feed the hungry in our community.”