Gospel Meets Symphony marks 20 years in Akron

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Gospel Meets Symphony will return to the University of Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall for its 20th anniversary concert at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25.

For one night only, those attending may witness the power of the 200-voice Gospel Meets Symphony Choir as it fuses with the Akron Symphony Orchestra to perform inspiring gospel and classical music, under the direction of Akron Symphony Orchestra Music Director Christopher Wilkins and Gospel Meets Symphony Chorus Master Jennifer Mekel­ Jones.

Gospel Meets Symphony is considered Akron's premiere collaborative concert, bringing the Akron community together for an evening of inspiration and celebration.

Concertgoers will enjoy some of the greatest moments from the past 20 years with performances by Divine Hope, YEPAW and The LeGrair Brothers. WAKR radio personality Chuck Collins will emcee the event.

"Gospel is all about good news. Symphony brings musical genius to life. Each can stand alone, but it's pure magic to see them come together," said Mekel Jones. "This year we will tell the stories and breathe new perspective into old tradition. It's all about a promise, and I assure you, you won't be able to stay in your seat."

Ann Lane Gates returns to the 20th anniversary of Gospel Meets Symphony as Honorary Chair. She was instrumental in helping launch Gospel Meets Symphony in the early '90s and chaired the event for the first six years.

"We will be honoring all of our previous chairs and our music directors," said Brenda Justice, the chair of this year's Gospel Meets Symphony concert. "Cleo Myricks will be our guest chorus master, just as she was that first year. Eric Benjamin will be guest conductor for the classical selection. Divine Hope, the featured guest artist from the very first concert, will perform. There will also be a selection performed by area ministers, and the Praise Anthem will feature praise dancers."

"Plenty of other cities do gospel music concerts with their orchestras, but what's unique in Akron is the emphasis on community," said Wilkins.

Tickets are on sale for the 20th anniversary concert of Gospel Meets Symphony and range from $22 to $52 with discounts for seniors, students and groups. Order tickets through the Akron Symphony at 330-535-8131 or www.­akronsymphony.org, or through E.J. Thomas Hall at 330-972-7570 or www.

ejthomashall.com.

Patron tickets are available for an additional $35 each and include valet parking, a listing in the concert program and an invitation to the post-concert reception. Patron tickets can only be purchased through the Akron Symphony office. Interpreters will be available at this concert.

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