Annual Gospel Festival Continues Virtually

Jan. 14, 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday Gospel Festival will take place, virtually, on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021.

The festival will be streamed live via Illinois Wesleyan University’s YouTube channel (www.iwu.edu/gospelfest) from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 18. Due to the ongoing pandemic, videos of performances and speakers were submitted and edited together into the two-hour presentation, which will also be made available to watch on-demand.

Presented by Illinois Wesleyan University and the United Community Gospel Singers of Bloomington-Normal, the festival honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke at Illinois Wesleyan in 1961 and returned to the University to speak in 1966 after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. The festival was founded in 1991 by the late Corine Sims and her husband, the Rev. James Sims, with Illinois Wesleyan and the United Community Gospel Singers as co-founders.

The 2021 Gospel Festival will feature performances by BCAI – School of Art Praise Team, Doc Smith & The Disciples of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Fantastic Jones Family of Springfield, Illinois, the Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Choir, the Mount Pisgah Baptist Church Sunbeam Choir and Holy Hands Puppet Ministry, the United Gospel Singers of Bloomington-Normal Mass Choir, and Voices of Power. The festival will also feature a presentation by Deneane Richburg, Artistic Director and Founder of St. Paul, Minnesota-based Brownbody.

More information about the Gospel Festival is available by contacting Illinois Wesleyan Director of Government and Community Relations Carl Teichman ’80, at (309) 556-3429 or Barbara Sims-Malone, Executive Director of the United Community Gospel Singers, at (309) 706-6638.

By John Twork