Choirs, artists sing, worship in wide array of styles

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Soulful singing filled the Mount Zion Family Worship Center Saturday evening, accompanied by clapping hands, dancing bodies and a loud, jazzy band.

More than 50 people attended the Gospel Extravaganza, an event sponsored by the United Black Voices of K-State, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and several area churches.

‘For my sorority to come together with the United Black Voices, and just have all these local churches come to celebrate – it’s an awesome experience,’ said Jasmine Hammond, junior in public relations, vice president of Delta Sigma Theta and president of United Black Voices.

Two African-style choirs, a lyrical-style ‘praise dance’ and a rap performance made their way to the front of the worship center, located at 916 Yuma St.

The rapper, DJ Hizway, whose real name is Clifford Watkins, performed a song that used the concept of freedom from slavery as a metaphor for freedom from sin.

Watkins, a senior in broadcast journalism, opened his set by announcing that he was ‘a nobody, representing somebody.’

‘I want to fade into the background and not even be noticed, so that Jesus Christ, the one who saves people, may be lifted up,’ Watkins said.

Later in the service, a choir from New Church of the Living God in Junction City stepped up to lead the attendees in more songs of worship.

Autumn Fort, a member of the choir, shared with the audience the reasons for she and members of her choir spent their Saturday night at Gospel Extravaganza.

‘It don’t matter that we in the recession; it don’t matter that we don’t know where tomorrow comes from,’ Fort said. ‘We are blessed. We just gotta have that ‘press-on praise.’

At times throughout the service, it was unclear who was a performer and who was an audience member because there was so much audience participation.

‘It talks in the Bible about dancin’ before the Lord, so that’s what we doing while we worshipping,’ Hammond said.

Though the Gospel Extravaganza was the first service of its kind, Hammond said the host organizations have tentatively decided to make it an annual event.

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