This past weekend on Sunday, Jan. 15, the 11th annual GospelFest was held at Brendle Recital Hall in Scales Fine Arts Center from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Kierra “KiKi” Sheard was the primary performing artist with the Wake Forest Gospel Choir as the opener.
GospelFest was first held in January of 2006 and has since gained the support of the community and local churches within the area. Kendra Stewart-Tillman, an assistant director for the WFU Gospel Choir in 2006, was responsible for launching the event that has now become a mainstay on the Wake Forest campus. Each year the event has grown in size.
“GospelFest takes place during the MLK weekend,” said Maya Revell, president of WFU Gospel Choir. “This was a way for members participating in the overall movement to find and give off peace, hope, and encouragement.”
This year the WFU Gospel Choir sang a rendition of “God is Here” by Martha Munizzi and “Pass Me Not” by Douglas Miller and the True Life Choir before Kierra Sheard took the stage. The voices of the Gospel Choir radiated throughout the auditorium as the audience listened. The WFU Gospel Choir has played a large role in the success of the event every year.
For the past 11 years, it has performed before the primary Gospel artist takes the stage.
Sheard is a gospel singer and radio host with five hit albums and an over 17-year career within the music industry. Her albums include I Owe You, This is Me, Bold Right Life, Free, and Graceland. She is native to Detroit, Michigan but has since traveled the globe.
Her mother, Karen Clark-Sheard, a member of The Clark Sisters, is also a gospel artist.
Sheard’s music is well known within the genre of gospel music, and her presence on stage caused a large turnout for the event. The audience, a blend of Wake Forest students, students from local colleges like Winston-Salem State University and Salem College and community members, filled the auditorium.
“GospelFest was an uplifting experience for both the performers and the audience,” said Kierstein McAtee, a member of WFU Gospel Choir. “It was nice to see everyone in attendance on one accord for the time we were there.”
To end the night, Sheard held a meet and greet in Brendle Recital Hall in order to talk with community members and take pictures with local fans. The WFU Gospel Choir was also giventhe opportunity of meeting with Sheard during the meet and greet.