NORTH ADAMS -- The sounds of electric "sacred steel" lap guitars and gospel music will fill the Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium at the MCLA Church Street Center tonight, as the Campbell Brothers headline the return of Gospel Fest.
The one-night only event, which is also the annual Margaret A. Hart ‘35 Scholarship Concert, will also feature Harold "Zion" Edwards, and the Allegrettos, the college's awarding-winning student a cappella group, will open the concert. Doors open at 7, with the show beginning at 7:30. A free reception with the artists, which is open to those attending the performances, will be held after the show.
"For the last three years, we've held a single performer for our scholarship concert, but this year we decided to bring back Gospel Fest as part of MCLA Presents!," Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA, said Thursday. "The last three years have been really great, but we thought that this year we'd get back to the comfort zone of a gospel fest. The decision comes at a time when our own student group, the Allegrettos, just held their own gospel concert. As a musical form, gospel is something that has been embraced by the students at the college."
Gospel Fest, which is co-presented with the MCLA Multicultural Center, the Hart Scholarship Committee, and the Transcript's parent company, New England Newspapers Inc. (NENI), will serve as the fundraiser concert for the Margaret A. Hart ‘35
A graduate of the then-named North Adams State Teachers College, Hart was a teacher and civil rights activist whose career as an educator spanned more than five decades. The scholarship is awarded to a Berkshire County student who demonstrates academic excellence and service to the community.
"We have a line up of three very diverse groups," Secor said. "The Allegrettos will obviously be doing an a cappella performance. Zion is new to the area. I was introduced to his music, which is a type of urban hip-hop gospel, by Warren Dews of NENI. I think his sound will fit well with this performance."
Zion, a minister and gospel rap artist, is the founder of Christ Centered Music Ministries and travels nationally, teaching and ministering.
"While the Campbell Brothers have performed in the Berkshires before, this will be their first time at MCLA," Secor said of the headlining band. "I've been looking for a good reason to bring them to the college since I first heard them five years ago while attending the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival."
He added, "They play ‘sacred steel' -- lap steel guitars -- they make this ethereal sound that is a cross of blues, funk and rock, but what's coming out is gospel. It's just an amazing sound and I doubt people will be able to stay in their seats when the Campbell Brothers begin to play."
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