Artists End Black History Month with Gospel Presentation

March 7, 2017

On Feb. 25, Fresno City College’s old administration building auditorium played host to an African-American gospel celebration in recognition of Black History Month. The celebration incorporated a variety of different performances including liturgical interpretive dance, spiritual singing and live skits.

“Gospel music is a huge part of African-American culture,” event representative and English instructor Ria Williams said. “For African-American history month, it means so much to bring people together.”

As one of the last events on campus for Black History Month, the gospel celebration ended the month on a successful note, with a near full house in attendance. The event has been entertaining FCC audiences since 2005, according to Williams. Groups from churches throughout Fresno were present and each delivered diverse performances to reign in the festivities.

A group by the name of In His Presence Mime performed the liturgical interpretive dance and inspirational spoken word. According to group member Charlene Ross, the roots of the performance can be found in the book of Ezekiel when the messages of God were spread through similar interpretive dances.

Audience members like Esther Walker were also treated to live music from Brothers Under Spiritual Testimony, or B.U.S.T.

Walker said the band’s performance was one her favorites of the night and the music was uplifting and joyful as gospel music should be. Walker said she encourages people to come to events like this not only to enjoy the music but also to experience moving performances as well.  

The Praise COGIC Youth Praise Team added some diversity to the line up. The group performed a skit depicting the freedom riders, protesters and victims of modern day shootings like Trayvon Martin together going through the same struggle of overcoming racial tensions and prejudice. Musician Ozell Thompson Jr. said, “It was touching and a lot of times here in California we don’t actually experience that sort of stuff. We all need each other.”

The gospel celebration is an annual black history month event, so people can rest assured the music will return next year.


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