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Gospel Fest is February 21
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he Multi-Cultural Committee of the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (FAC) proudly announces plans for the annual Gospel Fest and Heritage Tea, as part of a celebration of Black History Month. The Gospel Fest will take place Saturday, February 21 at 6:00 p.m. All tickets are $8. The annual Heritage Tea Celebration will be held Sunday, February 22 at 3:00 p.m. Both events will be held in the Wood Auditorium. The Heritage Tea will be followed by a reception at the Douglas-Reed House where the student artwork is displayed. The event is free and open to the public.

Gospel Fest, which started in 2005 and took root from there, has become a much loved and looked forward to event each year, note event organizers.

"The multi-cultural committee has been doing the Heritage Tea for some time, and they would also do another program in conjunction with it," Dionne Hough, Director of the Christian Musicians Guild and co-chair of the event, said. "It went so well that we decided to make it an annual event."

Now in its tenth year, The Gospel Fest will celebrate community unity through the singing of several local gospel choirs. The choirs will sing various genres of gospel music representing many styles. At the end of the evening, the audience will be encouraged to participate in a group singing with the choirs.

"Music is universal and has the ability to move past our ears and speak to our souls, regardless of whether or not a piece has lyrics or is an instrumental," Hough noted. "Gospel music, on the other hand, not only has the ability to speak to the soul, but I believe that at its core it contains the cure for the soul."

"At the end of the performance, you will see the unified community singing together," she added. "If you sing, it’s a privilege to be able to sing about your faith and something you believe with all your heart."

Hough, whose group has performed in this event since it started, said the performing groups are a strong mix of long-time favorites and exciting new additions. Scheduled to appear this year are:

• Christian Musicians Guild—Dionne Hough, director

• Sanders Creek Male Chorus—Andy Robinson, director

• Bethel Worship Center—Brian Wieneke, director

• Camden First United Methodist Church—Greg Free, director

• Abundant Life Fellowship Chorale— Sam Dennis, director

• Catoe’s Chapel—James Caldwell, director

This year’s Gospel Fest is dedicated to the memory of Pastor Andrae Crouch. A special dedication will be made by committee member Chandra Richardson during the Fest. The invocation will be given by Pastor Margaret Lopez.

On Saturday, a more than 20 year tradition continues as the Fine Arts Center’s Multi-Cultural Committee hosts the annual Heritage Tea celebrating diversity and showcasing the myriad talents of local residents and county youth. This year, the Heritage Tea will be dedicated to the memory of Dr. Maya Angelou. A special tribute will be made by Ann Davis. In addition to performances on stage, prizes and awards will also be presented to students whose art projects are on display in the Douglas-Reed House. Entertainment for the day will be provided Pine Tree Hill Elementary School Chorus, directed by Angie Lawson; Divine Praise Dancers from Bibleway Church of Atlas Road in Columbia; and soloist Dr. Connie Long-Graham, Assistant Superintendent, Kershaw County School District.

The emcee for the Heritage Tea is Debra Edwards, committee member and former Kershaw County School District educator. The invocation will be made by Father John Zimmerman, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

Other participants include James Frederick, Dr. Frank Morgan, Tim Hopkins, and Dionne Hough. A reception with refreshments will be held in the Douglas-Reed House immediately following the performance.

For much of the last month, students in Kershaw County's grades three through eight have worked on projects that focus on Africans or African Americans, past or present, who have made an impact on culture and history. Each school has selected the winning pieces to be displayed in the historic Douglas-Reed House at the Fine Arts Center during this special weekend. Awards for first through third place in grades 3-8 will be awarded. All Kershaw County schools were invited to be a part of this celebration.

For more information or to purchase advance tickets call 425-7676, extension 300 or visit the FAC website at The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County is located at 810 Lyttleton Street in Camden. Office hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.