April 7, 2017

32nd Chicago Gospel Music Festival Headliners Include The Rance Allen Group, Jonathan McReynolds, VaShawn Mitchell, and Many More

Celebrating the music style’s deep Chicago roots with traditional choirs and contemporary urban gospel music, the free admission festival features local and national artists June 2-3 at the Chicago Cultural Center and in Millennium Park

Mary May    mary.may@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.0576

Christine Carrino    christine.carrino@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.0573

Link for Photos: Chicago Gospel Music Festival Artists


The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is pleased to announce the full lineup for the 32nd Chicago Gospel Music Festival. The free admission festival happening June 23 in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center will include the following headliners: The Rance Allen Group, Jonathan McReynolds with special guests Anthony Brown & Travis Greene, VaShawn Mitchell, Malcolm Williams & Great Faith, a Tribute to Jessy Dixon and many more.    

Featuring local and national artists celebrating the genre’s foundational roots in Chicago, the Gospel Music Festival will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) from noon to 4pm and in Millennium Park from 5:30 to 9:30pm on Friday, June 2, and continue in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) on Saturday, June 3, from 11am to 9:30pm.


Millennium Park Performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

The festival’s opening night in Millennium Park on Friday, June 2, at 5:30pm will kick off with the contemporary gospel music choir, Glenn Johnson & The Voices of Innerpeace. The Zeta Gospel Music Awards named their project Greatness “CD of the Year” in 2016. The University of Illinois Black Chorus, a large mixed voice vocal ensemble will follow at 6pm. Their repertoire of the music of black Americans includes: traditional gospel, jazz, soul, blues, African chant, field hollers and anthems. At 6:40pm. Malcolm Williams & Great Faith, the Stellar Award-nominated gospel music group will take center stage. A festival highlight will feature a Celebration of Gospel Music Quartets with Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and The Warriors, God’s Posse, The Gospel Crusaders and The Stars of Heaven at 7:20pm.

Award-winning contemporary gospel music artists, Jonathan McReynolds with special guests Anthony Brown and Travis Greene will close the first evening in Millennium Park at 8:30pm. Acclaimed Dove and Stellar Award-nominated recording artist Jonathan McReynolds’ album Life Music: Stage Two was number on the Billboard Gospel Chart for four weeks in 2015, and his 2016 Sessions EP surprise release reached the top of the iTunes Christian chart in one night. Since 2012, singer-songwriter and arranger Anthony Brown has been performing with his group therAPy and has thrilled audiences with joyous spirit. Travis Greene appeared on the festival stage last year and is back with seven 2017 Stellar Awards including “Male Vocalist” and “CD of the year” for The Hill.

The Gospel Music Festival continues at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, June 3 at 4:30pm with Chicago contemporary artist, VaShawn Mitchell. Following his 2016 project, Secret Place, which was recorded in South Africa, Mitchell will bring his universal sound to the festival stage. The groundbreaking artists, The Rance Allen Group perform at 6:15pm. For four decades, the group has inspired fans with their traditional gospel sound and message of unity.

Following at 7pm is a special tribute to Jessy Dixon. Singer and songwriter Jessy Dixon passed away in September, 2011 and during his career he brought his energetic style of gospel music to a wide audience. He is best known for his work with fellow music artist, Paul Simon. He collaborated with Simon on his Live Rhymin’ Simon and Still Crazy albums.


Chicago Cultural Center Performances

On Friday, June 2, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival will open at the Chicago Cultural Center in Randolph Square (1st floor north)) at noon until 4pm. Performers throughout the day include: Iliani Morales, Selah St. Sabina Youth Choir, R&R featuring Russ and Roe, Neicy Robertson & Friends, “Chicago’s Next” featuring 2ndNature Band, Isaiah Freeman, Jazmin Jones and Denton Arnell Harris and Arthur Sutton & The Gift of Praise. For a complete festival lineup, visit chicagogospelmusicfestival.us.


Chicago Gospel Music Festival Presents

In addition to the festival, Chicago Gospel Music Festival Presents will offer free gospel concerts and events around Chicago throughout the year. On Wednesday, April 12, artists and industry participants are invited to attend the ChicagoMade Music Collective: Gospel Music Edition. A special gospel music version of the City of Chicago’s music industry networking series featuring performances by EJ Jackson and Delagraentiss. The event is being held at the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center (825 N. Christiana St.), 6:30-8:30pm.

Fans and artists are invited to get Up Close & Personal at a Preview Concert and Conversation Thursday, May 4, at 6:30pm at the Chicago Cultural Center. In a conversation moderated by GRAMMY® Award-nominated and “future of gospel music” artist, Jonathan McReynolds with Catherine Brewton, BMI vice president, writer and publisher relations; and Ledisi, GRAMMY® Award-nominated R&B and jazz recording artist. They will discuss their dynamic careers and answer audience questions. The event, presented in partnership with The Recording Academy® Chicago Chapter, will also feature performances by Iliani Morales and R&R featuring Russ and Roe.

The Millennium Park Summer Music Series on Thursday, August 17, 6:30pm will feature gospel music as part of the popular free concerts at Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Joshua Nelson, the Prince of Kosher Gospel, will bring people and cultures together in joyous song with his combination of Jewish liturgical lyrics and Gospel music. Chicago gospel music artist, Tone Ross & Inspired will kick-off the evening’s performances.

The Chicago Gospel Music Festival is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is sponsored in part by Chicago Transit Authority, Inspiration 1390 AM, Sun Times, Chicago Reader and Communications Direct.

For complete details on the Chicago Gospel Music Festival including artist information, visit chicagogospelmusicfestival.us, like us on Facebook at Chicago Gospel Music Festival or follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @ChicagoDCASE (#ChiGospelMusic).


32nd Chicago Gospel Music Festival Schedule

Schedule & Times Subject To Change


NOTE TO MEDIA: Media credential requests for the Chicago Gospel Music Festival must be submitted by email to DCASEPR@cityofchicago.org, by Friday, June 2, 2017, and acceptance notifications will be sent accordingly. Submission of a request does not guarantee admission. Credentials only provide working media access to media seating and photo pit; they do not include back stage access. Each media outlet is limited to one press and one photography credential as space is very limited. Visit the pressroom on the website at this for details.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


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