Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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February 21, 2014

Gospel Night celebrates black history

ASHLAND — Voices from the past invaded the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center when members of four Tri-State area choirs sang in honor of Black History Month on Thursday.

Ashland Community and Technical College has teamed up with the museum to deliver four days of celebration in honor of achievements in black history.

Thursday night, a crowd gathered in the museum lobby to listen, dance and sing along with members of S.A.W. Ministries Singers, Christ Temple Church Mass Choir, United Praise Choir and Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Museum curator Heather Akers organized several black history exhibits, with art provided by Jerry Johnson, that lined the walls surrounding the audience and choirs, adding artistic context to the educational gospel lyrics.

ACTC Director of Cultural Diversity Al Baker said the committee program events are both fun and educational.

“I think it’s a wonderful time to rejoice and have a good time, like we are tonight,” he said. “But it’s important to teach our students about the diversity of different cultures.”

Carol Allen, museum director, said Black History Month events are made to appeal to everyone, no matter race, age or gender.

“It is based on the idea of bringing something for everyone into the museum,” she said.

Gospel Night is one of four major events packaged into the celebration.

Remaining events include Saturday’s “A Night at the Apollo” talent contest at ACTC’s J.B. Sowards Theatre on College Drive, and minority churches will host the Super Sunday college fair at Christ Temple Church.

All events are free and open to the public. Entry fee for talent contestants is $5.

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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Vocalist Marlana VanHoose with her brother, Harley, and parents, Teresa and David, are shown in her mother’s classroom at Highlands Elementary in Johnson County. VanHoose has earned worldwide fans through videos of her renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games by the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team and the Brooklyn Nets.

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