The first International Gospel Choir Festival is being hosted in Kilkenny this weekend with hundreds of performers coming from Ireland and abroad to take part.
The event runs from Friday to Sunday in venues throughout Kilkenny, prompting a boost to tourism at the end of the summer season.
Visitors can attend several events including a free gospel performance on Friday at Castlecomer Discovery Park at 2.30pm. The choirs will sing for the public in the Estate Yard in an open-air gospel performance.
Gospel music lovers are also invited to attend a festival finale concert at St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday evening, when all of the visiting choirs will perform their music in unison alongside high-profile guest performers.
Award-winning Irish singer songwriter Don Mescall and his long-term writing collaborator Chris Pelcer have composed an exclusive official anthem for the International Gospel Choir Festival. Mr Mescall will sing the specially penned gospel anthem, Faith and Friendship, publicly for the first time with support from the gospel singers at the concert at St Mary’s Cathedral.
The participating choirs will partake in three days of musical and cultural activities with a concerts and performances planned for venues across the county.
Special guests attending the event include Adrian ‘Fro’ Johnson, one of America’s top gospel rappers, who is expected to cause quite a stir during his visit to Ireland when he takes in local schools and hosts workshops with young people on rap and gospel music.
Also taking part in the festival is Dr Eddie Jones, an educator, performer and conductor who has influenced many lives. He is an associate professor of music at the University of Arkansas, where he teaches voice and choral methods, and conducts both the UA Concert Choir and the UA Inspirational Chorale.
Finally, Grayson Warren Brown, an internationally known liturgical composer, author, recording artist and speaker, has been confirmed as one of the key workshop leaders for the festival.
Full details are at www.kilkennygospelchoirfestival.com.