EMU celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with the Gospel Fest event at Pease Auditorium. It was the fifth out of 12 events that was taken place on campus honoring Dr. King. The event was opened to the public.
Many people from all ages, races and religion attended the event. Christan Leman, an EMU student and a member of the choir, worked behind the scenes at the Gospel Fest.
“It was awesome, just to see different types of choirs and different people coming together. It was a lot of patience and love that went into this program,” said Leman. “It was amazing to see all groups of people who served the community, and love God, who also love Martin Luther King Jr.”
You could feel the joy of guests as they arrived. The greeters at the door interacted with people who entered. As you walked through the doors of Pease Auditorium, you could feel the warm welcome of positivity. A flyer of the program was given, and audiences could sit anywhere they pleased. Many of the performers were sitting down in their assigned seats, while some of them went on stage to practice.
The audience was welcomed with warm sounds of Gospel music and introduced to one of the hostess, and the host choir EMU. Caroline Sanders, an EMU alumni and assistant director of Community Relations and Engagement, and Da’Tuan Stinson, vice president of EMU Gospel Choir.
The first performances were by the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA). Throughout their performances, the GMWA created an uplifting atmosphere by interacting with the audience. They included praise dancing and flag worship, along with the choir singing two gospel songs. The following performances were by Reverend Mayetta Dolberry, giving a dramatic interpretation that used the memorable Sojourner Truth's speech “Ain’t I a Women.”
The diversity with the performances from the Gospel Fest created an amusing time for the audiences, which showed how King’s legacy influenced generations. The Gospel Fest performers presented a spoken word on how young women are presented today. The Ypsilanti Community High School Choir performed a medley of songs, along with performances by Spiritual Israel Church and Its Army-Ypsilanti Youth Center, Mime 2B Sanctified, Brown Chapel AME Church Megan Men Chorus, DREAM and many more.
The EMU Gospel Choir performed twice throughout the evening. Their performances left audiences in uproar with the co-gospel songs they performed for that evening, including songs like “Total Praise,” with the help of a live band. The choir was one out 15 performances during the event.
“We have to keep on striving to be better, not just one certain type of people,” said Leman. “We all are a part of his dream.”