FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Date: February 12, 2003

         Contact: Donna McCracken, 206-6716


UIS to host first Gospel Festival


SPRINGFIELD In conjunction with Black History Month, the University of Illinois at Springfield will present a look at the history of gospel music by hosting its first Gospel Festival on Friday, March 7, and Sunday, March 9, in the Studio Theatre, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus. Both performances will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

The line-up for Friday will feature a Gospel Star Search. Anyone interested in being a contestant should send an audition tape to Associate Professor Marcellus Leonard, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 461, Springfield, IL 62703-5407. Four performers will be selected from among those who submit tapes.

Other performers on Friday include Derrick Stapleton singing works by Thomas Dorsey, James Cleveland, and others; Diane Thompson singing songs made famous by Mahalia Jackson and Traumaine Hawkins; the Crawford Family Gospel; and the Corinthians Jubilee Quartet.

The Sunday program will feature a presentation by Art C. Jones on “The Spiritual and Its History”; songs by the UIS Gospel Choir under the direction of Linton Weems Jr.; spirituals by the Voices of Love, Joy, and Peace; gospel rap by Redemption; and a performance by the Kuumba Dancers of the Springfield Urban League Team Reach program.

Singers and musicians from the community are invited to join the UIS Gospel Choir. Directed by Weems, minister of music at Abundant Faith Christian Center, open rehearsals for


those who are interested are scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Studio Theatre on the following dates: Saturday, February 15, 22, and March 1; Tuesday, March 4; and Sunday, March 9 (prior to the performance).

Festival sponsors include the UIS offices of Student Life, Student Activities, Ombudsperson, Intercollegiate Club Board, and Community Outreach Partnership Center. Abundant Faith Christian Center is participating through Weems’ presence as choir director.

For more information, contact Leonard by phone at (217) 206-7452 or by e-mail at