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AARLCC concert celebrates Golden Age of Gospel

admin | 5/31/2012, 5:30 a.m.

The affirming lyrics and melodies of spirituals, hymns, and carols performed by The Broward Gospel Announcers Guild will fill the halls of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center at the 1940s Gospel Fest on Saturday, June 2nd. The concert is a musical tribute to the Ft. Lauderdales librarys year long tribute to the Fabulous Forties on the Avenue. In honor of the decade, the Broward guild will be performing songs popularized by artists such as Mahalia Jackson, The Caravans, Thomas Dorsey, Shirley Caesar, and the Dixie Hummingbirds among others. Those artists changed how gospel music was heard and they it a more public appearance, explained Lynn Brown, the president of the Broward Gospel Announcers Guild. Eventually, gospel music was not only embraced by the church community but by the secular community as well. Yet in addition to providing stirring renditions of popular songs from the Golden Age of Gospel, the guild will also explain the historical importance of the American genre, according to Brown. I even printed a timeline with the history of gospel music that goes all the way back to Africa and shows how relevant the music is today, she said. The elements of traditional gospel music music is based upon characteristics such as call and response, improvisation, polyrhythms and percussions. and its basis could be found in the music played by African indentured servants who were brought to the British colony, Jamestown, in the early 1600s, according to the Gospel Music History Archive. Through the centuries gospel music began to form and distinguish itself as an independent musical genre. By the 1920s, mainstream music companies were seeking to appeal to Black music consumers, so in addition to producing records of jazz, blues and ragtime, producers also recorded albums with Black pastors and gospel artists. Yet it was not until the late 1930s and early 1940s that gospel music exploded in popularity. Known as the Golden Age of Gospel, performers such as Mahalia Jackson, the Caravans and the Clara Ward and the Ward Singers dominated the genre. The 1940s Gospel Fest will be held at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center, on Saturday, June 2nd, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $20. For more information, call the Guild at 954-957-4707. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com