McDonald’s Gospelfest: The face of Gospel Music is Changing

Thousands of attendees worship during the 2011 McDonald's Gospelfest in Newark, N.J.

NEWARK, N.J. – The evolution of Gospel music was evident at the 2011 McDonald’s Gospelfest event Saturday at the Prudential Center, where performances during the night’s talent competition transcended ethnic, geographic and artistic boundaries traditionally associated with the genre.

In its 28th year, the event is known as the biggest Gospel celebration in the New York Tri-State area. This year’s show drew a crowd of over 14,000.

During the competition portion of the event, over 80 finalists, chosen from over 40,000 auditions, competed in various Gospel categories including, Soloists, Youth Choir, Adult Choir, Praise Dance, Step, Singing Groups, Instrumentalists and Gospel Rappers.

The night of praise and worship also featured a message from Bishop T. D. Jakes and performances by contemporary Gospel giants Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin, among others.

While Christ-centered message of the Gospelfest performances has remained the same over the years, performers and contestants say they notice that Gospel no longer as just a “black,” “American,” or “singing” art form.

“It evolves and continues to progress. There is room for the old as well as the new,” Grammy-award winning Gospel singer McClurkin told The Christian Post.

“Gospel music is not black and not American. It is global,” said the soulful singer, noting that he recently traveled to Cuba and England and will head to South Africa soon. “There are so many different genres of Gospel music. There are so many cultures that make up Gospel music. The thing about Gospel music is that its message stays the same even though the music changes with the times.”

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Source: Christian Post