Soul of Southside kicks off with live gospel music, worship

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The second annual Soul of Southside Arts and Humanities Festival kicked off at Jacob Chapel Baptist Church with an approximately two-hour worship service featuring local gospel choirs, contemporary singers and a dance ministry.

“It’s all phenomenal local bands, singers, musicians coming together,” said Anita Franklin, who organized the festival’s Inspirational Kickoff event. “We came together in a very phenomenal way, and it was really, really, really a blessing.”

The event featured a lineup of eight performances, beginning with a line of African drums and ending with a gospel music choir.

“We started from the past and brought it to where we are. We moved from hymns, spirituals, traditional sounds and contemporary sounds,” Franklin said. “That’s where our heritage lies, so we’re thrilled about that.”

Franklin says traditional spirituals and gospel music are closely tied to the African-American experience. “In those years of our ancestors who suffered and died and were abused, but they had this spiritual part that kept them, just embracing who God is to keep them strong through those times of torture, lynchings. , through broken families,” Franklin said. “Those were the songs of freedom.

Organizers are expecting a bigger festival this year, with more events planned throughout the week. Some of these include: an open mic night hosted by Black on Black Rhyme on Tuesday, a jazz concert at the Jazz Signature Lounge on Wednesday, and 45-minute neighborhood storytelling tours throughout the day on Saturday.

Also on the program this year is a fish fry for seniors drive-thru Thursday from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Lake Anita Plaza, where up to 600 seniors can get a free lunch.

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