Sweet Briar to host 30th annual Gospel Fest on Feb. 22

Gospel Fest 2019A staple of Black History Month at Sweet Briar College for 30 years, Gospel Fest will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in Memorial Chapel.

This year, the event will feature Luther Barnes, leader of the Red Budd Gospel Choir, who has produced and performed on more than two dozen gospel albums. Barnes has performed with gospel recording artists like Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, John P. Kee and more. Also performing will be the R.G. Lee Choral Ensemble accompanied by Minister Orville Peterson, as well as Bishop Paul Kee, Rita Kidd and Derrick Thompson.

LaVerne Paige ’06, the library’s technical services and facilities coordinator who has worked at Sweet Briar for 18 years, helped organize Gospel Fest in the past and stepped up again this year. The anniversary event is all about the theme of appreciation, she said. “It has been heartwarming to come together with local choirs and vocalists and celebrate with traditional gospel music, contemporary praise and worship,” she added. “We’re indebted to the local community for their generous participation and diligent support during Black History Month.” For the first time, she noted, the event will boast a nationally renowned gospel singer in the Rev. Luther Barnes. “We look forward to an evening of rejoicing, gratitude and unity!”

As in previous years, a Soul Food Dinner will round out festivities; this time before the concert. Prothro Dining Hall hours are 5 to 7:30 p.m. Regular dinner rates apply. More information is at sbc.edu-dining-services.

Gospel Fest is free and open to the public, but please note that seating is limited to 250. Doors open at 6 p.m. For more information, please contact Braxton Braswell at bbraswell@sbc.edu or 434-381-6715.