On Saturday, March 8 at 7 p.m., the Colgate Memorial Chapel filled with booming voices and inspiring melodies at this year’s Gospel Fest. The event, hosted by the Sojourners Gospel Choir, is open to the entire Colgate community and is held as a yearly celebration of gospel music. This year the Sojourners Gospel Choir invited the Walt Whitman’s Soul Children of Chicago gospel choir to sing at the event, and they put on a truly
Walt Whitman’s Soul Children of Chicago is a group dedicated to inspiring and enhancing the lives of Chicago’s youth through a passion for music. The organization’s mission is to “educate the minds, elevate the spirits and illuminate the souls of our youth” in the face of issues like poverty, violence, struggling education systems, drugs and teen pregnancy. Soul Children of Chicago is a source of support and hope for struggling youth.
The Sojourners Gospel Choir kicked off the event in front of an enthusiastic audience. However, Walt Whitman’s Soul Children of Chicago took the stage for the majority of the event. The group performed a variety of songs, ranging from more traditional soul and gospel pieces to contemporary songs, like Hannah Montana’s “The Climb,” with a soulful twist. The Sojourners are similar to the Soul Children of Chicago in this aspect, as they also like to combine traditional and modern gospel music.
The Soul Children of Chicago’s passion came through in their voices and their stage presence. The members were clearly having fun on stage, clapping, dancing and singing. While there was no strict choreography, the Soul Children of Chicago all moved together, creating an energetic, yet chaotic, feeling to their performance. The group also engaged the audience throughout their performance. The director of the group told stories and jokes, adding another element to the lively evening. Audience members were also invited to dance and sing along, and many did.
“I went because Gospel Fest has always been one of my favorite events of the year,” junior Annie Hoefler said. “Gospel Fest has a way of bringing the Christian communities alive in ways that we don’t normally see. We are used to quiet, more reflective worship and this definitely mixed that up.”
Gospel Fest was an inspiring evening. The Soul Children of Chicago sang uplifting songs with a great amount of joy and heart. The singers’ spirit, along with the group’s mission to improve the lives of youth in Chicago, made it impossible not to admire the Soul Children and want to sing along. The Sojourners Gospel Choir put on an enjoyable event, even for those not familiar with gospel music. Gospel Fest has been and will continue to be a wonderful Colgate tradition.