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Henderson’s Black History Month event to feature gospel choirs, soul food

Gospel music is more than a form of entertainment. The genre also has a strong spiritual component and is a form of oral tradition, said the Rev. Sam Roberson of Community Baptist Church, 245 E. Foster Ave.

“There’s a close relationship between gospel, blues, jazz and black history,” Roberson said. “It tells a story. Our history is not in the books. We can find bits and pieces here and there. It’s handed down through that music.”

The church’s 12-member choir is among Las Vegas Valley musical groups scheduled to participate in Heart & Soul: A Celebration of Gospel and Black History, an event set to be hosted by the city of Henderson from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St., in recognition of February as National Black History Month.

“Back in the day of blacks being enslaved, many sang gospel songs,” Roberson said. “It has a strong traditional element, and it sends forth a good message.”

The free event will feature urban contemporary, modern contemporary and Southern traditional gospel music. Expressive cultural dances also are planned, as is an art display celebrating black culture, with many pieces by local artist Sylvester Collier, whose work has been featured at city of Henderson facilities and at Left of Center Art Gallery & Studio, 2207 W. Gowan Road. Also, food vendors are set to sell hamburgers, hot dogs and soul food, including ribs, catfish, sweet potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. Merchandise and business exhibit booths also are planned.

The city has hosted similar celebrations in Henderson over the past 10 years in honor of Black History Month, said Kim Becker, public information officer for the city.

“Previously, there have been different incarnations of this event,” she said. “It has evolved.”

Other groups slated to participate include those from Victory Missionary Baptist Church, 500 W. Monroe Ave.; Mountaintop Faith Ministries, 2845 Lindell Road; Hope Church, 850 E. Cactus Ave.; the Trinity Conservatory of Performing Arts dance company, 2475 W. Cheyenne Ave., Suite 130; the Christian Embassy Worship Center, 2020 Olympic Ave.; Harold and Sharon Burney; and Ken Young and Friends. Michael Shaw and Mark McCutchen also are set to offer entertainment.

Tiffany Beard, who sings with the 16-member Worship Culture team at the Christian Embassy Worship Center, which includes a four-piece band, said gospel music has the ability to help people feel inspired and uplifted, “even if you’re a person who doesn’t go to church or who isn’t religious.”

Beard, who also is the center’s administrator, said the event will help bring culture to Henderson and allow congregation members to connect with area residents.

“Being that we are a church here in the city of Henderson, we like to stay involved involved in the community and show people what we have to offer,” she said.

For more on the event, call 702-267-2171 or visit tinyurl.com/hendersonheartandsoul.

— To reach Henderson View reporter Cassandra Keenan, email ckeenan@viewnews.com or call 702-383-0278. Find her on Twitter: @CassandraKNews

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