Black History Month comes to a close with a gospel concert on Feb. 25

As February comes to an end, so does Black History Month.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Calgary chapter of the National Black Coalition of Canada. This will be celebrated with a Black Gospel Concert.

Grammy winner and gospel singer Fred Hammond will be performing at the concert along with many other local gospel choirs at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Feb. 25.

Robert McPherson, president of the Calgary chapter of the National Black Coalition of Canada said, “Gospel gives you hope for a better tomorrow and knowing that the outcome of their lives actually is not depending on their masters, it’s depending on the one we can’t see, the omnipotent one, which is God.”

“Gospel is a popular genre in the black community that is not only reliant on choir music, but includes many different styles of music such as hip-hop, jazz and pop.”

Gospel songs originated from slaves who sang about hope and freedom. The tradition has been carried on from generation to generation as a remembrance of enslaved ancestors, he added.

Grammy winner Fred Hammond will be headlining the 20th Annual Black Gospel Concert.
Photo courtesty of: FaithHouse Productions

“It’s more prevalent to Black History Month because they celebrate not just the success but they honour where we’ve come from, where we are now and where we’re going,” McPherson said.

“When you listen to the words of gospel music – even the person with the most hardened heart and hatred in their soul – it just softens you up.”

The concert usually averages around 1,200 people each year — including the participants and volunteers. This year, concert organizers are aiming to reach an audience of 2,400 — which is capacity for the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

Bernard Glover, leader of the gospel music group Total Praise, will be performing at the concert.

“We’re just a group who loves to sing and worship. We’re all from different churches around the city but pretty much everyone in the group is very talented. We all just meet and we just want to express our gift of song, music and talent, ” Glover said.

“We’re honoured that we get to partake in the Black History Month celebration because we still sing of the freedom of the gospel and the freedom of good things to happen,” he added.

Total Praise performed with American gospel singer Ron Kenoly. Glover thinks that performing before Fred Hammond will be exciting.

“Fred Hammond has been a favourite for a lot of us. We pretty much have listened to him and learned from him,” Glover said.

“I think it will be an honour for us to share a stage with him.”

Tickets are available online and at various locations around the city. For more information visit nbcccalgary.org.

rkadri@cjournal.ca