GOSPEL MEETS SYMPHONY CELEBRATES 20 GLORIOUS YEARS IN AKRON

February 6, 2013

Gospel Meets Symphony returns to The University of Akron’s EJ Thomas hall for its 20th anniversary concert on Saturday, February 25th at 7:30 pm. For one night only, witness the power of the 200 voice Gospel Meets Symphony Choir as it fuses with the Akron Symphony Orchestra to perform some of the world’s most inspiring gospel and classical music under the direction of Akron Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Christopher Wilkins, and Gospel Meets Symphony Chorus Master, Jennifer Mekel Jones.

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Gospel Meets Symphony is considered Akron’s premiere collaborative concert, bringing the Akron community together for an unforgettable evening of inspiration and celebration. Concertgoers will enjoy some of the greatest moments from the past 20 years with performances by Divine Hope, YEPAW and The LeGrair Brothers. WAKR radio personality, Chuck Collins, will emcee the event.

“Gospel is all about good news. Symphony brings musical genius to life. Each can stand alone, but its pure magic to see them come together,” said Gospel Meets Symphony Chorus Master, Jennifer Mekel Jones. “This year we will tell the stories and breathe new perspective into old tradition. It’s all about a promise, and I assure you won’t be able to stay in your seat.”

Ann Lane Gates returns to the 20th anniversary of Gospel Meets Symphony as Honorary Chair. She was instrumental in helping launch Gospel Meets Symphony in the early ‘90s and chaired the event for the first six years. In a recent interview for the Akron Symphony’s My Symphony magazine, Gates said, “I never thought Gospel Meets Symphony would have lasted this long, or be this successful.It wouldn’t have been, if not forthe passion, drive and dedication of everyoneinvolved from the very beginning,and all of the current and past Gospel Meets Symphony Chairs, committee members,choir members, concertgoers and contributors.”

“We will be honoring all of our previous chairs and our music directors,” said Brenda Justice, the Chair of this year’s Gospel Meets Symphony concert. “Cleo Myricks will be our guest chorus master, just as she was that first year. Eric Benjamin will be guest conductor for the classical selection. Divine Hope, the featured guest artist from the very first concert, will perform. There will also be a selection performed by area ministers…and the Praise Anthem will feature praise dancers.”

“Plenty of other cities do gospel music concerts with their orchestras, but what’s unique in Akron is the emphasis on community,” said Maestro Christopher Wilkins. “It isn’t just a concert of music from a multitude of traditions. The music is a tool for bringing people together and inviting their wholehearted participation with us. That’s the higher purpose of Gospel Meets Symphony. The choir itself is a means of connecting with a diversity of communities in our city through our Akron-based musicians, including university faculty and students, teachers, church musicians, professional instrumentalists and singers, and amateur musicians. No symphony tradition has done more to foster deep bonds within this community than our annual Gospel Meets Symphony program.

Tickets are on sale for the 20th anniversary concert of Gospel Meets Symphony and range from $22 to $52 with discounts for seniors, students and groups. Great seats are still available, but tickets are going fast. To order tickets, call the Akron Symphony at 330-535-8131, order online at www.akronsymphony.org, or purchase through EJ Thomas Hall at 330-972-7570 or www.ejthomashall.com. Visit the Akron Symphony website for a complete concert calendar and additional program details. Patron tickets are available for an additional $35 each and include valet parking, a listing in the concert program and an invitation to the post-concert reception. Patron tickets can only be purchased through the Akron Symphony office. Interpreters will be available at this concert.

The Akron Symphony appreciates our sponsors, including Concert Sponsor, FirstMerit Foundation, media partners Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, 89.7FM WKSU, Akron Life, 1590AM WAKR, The Wave at 107.3FM, 95.5FM The Fish and 1220AM The Word. Additional support is provided by The University of Akron and the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund Akron Symphony Orchestra concerts with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

About the Akron Symphony Orchestra

For more than 60 years, the Akron Symphony Orchestra has been a driving musical force throughout the Greater Akron area. Widely recognized for musical excellence and performance versatility, the Akron Symphony Orchestra is committed to enhancing the quality of life of our community through educational and musical excellence. The Akron Symphony Orchestra is operated by the Greater Akron Musical Association, Inc. (GAMA). GAMA’s vision is to be embraced and sustained as a community treasure that provides a welcoming environment for all people to experience great music. This vision is realized by operating the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Akron Youth Orchestras, Akron Symphony Chorus, and numerous special outreach and educational programs.

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