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13th Annual Gospel Fest

Posted: February 12, 2018 4:30 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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Members of the Camden First United Methodist Church choir perform.

The Multi-Cultural Committee of the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County announces plans for its 13th annual Gospel Fest and Heritage Tea celebrating Black History Month. The Gospel Fest will be held Saturday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. in the Wood Auditorium, located at 810 Lyttleton St. in Camden. Tickets are on sale now and are $5. The Gospel Fest is sponsored by Piggly Wiggly of Camden.

About The Gospel Fest

The Gospel Fest will again celebrate “community unity” through the glorious sound of several local gospel choirs. This year’s lineup includes The Valentinos, Unity UMC Men’s Choir, Lyttleton Street UMC Choir, Catoe’s Chapel, Camden First UMC Choir, Sanders Creek Male Chorus, Christian Musicians’ Guild, and Bethlehem Baptist Male Choir. Committee co-chair Dionne Hough will act as emcee, with the opening remarks being made by FAC Executive Director Woody Goff. The invocation for this year’s Gospel Fest will be made by Rev. Pickett Wall, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church. At the end of the evening, the audience will be invited to take part in a group song.

About the Heritage Tea and Performances, Sunday, February 26, 3 p.m.

For more than 20 years, the FAC’s Multicultural Committee has hosted the annual Heritage Tea to announce the winners of the Black History Month project competition for Kershaw County School District students in grades 3-8, in addition to performances from students and adults during the presentation. Prizes and awards will be presented to the students whose winning projects will be on display February 19-25. in the historic Douglas-Reed House (c. 1812). The program, held in the Wood Auditorium at the FAC will be emceed by Chandra Richardson. Other participates will include FAC Executive Director Woody Goff; Rev. Angela Ford-Nelson, pastor of Good Hope-Wesley Chapel UMC; Dr. Connie Graham; Claude Eichelberger (Multi-Cultural Committee co-chair); Dr. Frank Morgan; Tim Hopkins; and Mary Jones. The entertainment will be provided by the Baron Dekalb (BDK) Singers and Iria Johnson, dancer. This year, the Heritage Tea will be dedicated to longtime FAC supporter and School Arts Coordinator Bert Karesh. The tribute will be given by Mary Ellen Jordan. Camden First Anointed Teens 4 Christ Youth Ministry will act as ushers for the afternoon program.

About the Student Work on Display

Much of what we think of as American art has been introduced or influenced by African-American artists through musical genres such as blues, jazz, ragtime, rock and roll, and gospel music. The influence of African-American artists is also evident when you think of the popular dances, poetry, and literary contributions of writers such as Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Rita Dove. The names of these distinguished Americans are synonymous not just with great African-American historical contributions, but also with American and worldly contributions to the arts, as well as to the sciences. When students research and write about these African Americans, the skills learned help reinforce South Carolina academic standards that will benefit them throughout their school careers by integrating social studies, language arts, science, music, technology, and the visual arts.

For much of the last month, students in Kershaw County’s grades 3 through 6 have worked on projects that focus on Africans or African-Americans, past or present, who have made an impact on our history. This year, for the first time, groups have been allowed to enter the competition. Each school has selected the projects to be displayed in the historic Douglas-Reed House at the FAC.

Awards for first through third place in grades 3-8 will be awarded. Past projects have ranged from reports with paintings to portfolios, mobiles, hand sculptures, and PowerPoint presentations. All Kershaw County schools were invited to be a part of this celebration. A reception catered by Hall’s Catering will take place in the Douglas-Reed House immediately following the program.

The FAC’s Multi-Cultural Committee hosts both annual programs which are intended to celebrate the spirit of community, with a special emphasis on Black History Month. Committee members include Woody Goff, Dionne Hough, Claude Eichelberger, Kevin Little, Chandra Richardson, Pamela Whitehead, Timothy Hopkins, Mollye Robinson, Denise Goodwin Blanding, Mary Jones, Ann Davis, Christa Jeter, Debra Edwards, Kimberly Little, Elizabeth Robinson, Bobbie Daniels, Ernest Witherspoon, Cassandra Mickle, Keith Tolen, Lola Houston, Mary Ellen Jordan and Linda Shaylor.

For more information or to purchase tickets call (803) 425-7676, extension 300, visit the FAC office at 810 Lyttleton St., Camden, or visit the website at www.fineartscenter.org. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The FAC is funded in part by grants from Duke Energy, the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the city of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, along with donations from businesses and individuals.

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