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Chicago Gospel Music Festival lineup includes Aretha Franklin tribute

Aretha Franklin performs at the inaugural gala for President Bill Clinton in 1993. | AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

A tribute to Aretha Franklin is among the highlights for the 34th annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival, whose lineup was announced Thursday by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

The festival, running May 31-June 1, will kick things off at the Chicago Cultural Center (May 31) with an opening set by Dave Martin & GSM at noon.

Later that day, an hour-long tribute to the Queen of Soul, featuring Chicago musicians who performed with Franklin and a choir directed by Pastor Angie Spivey, Cynthia Nunn, and Janet Sutton gets under way at 6 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. An 8 p.m. set by Ricky Dillard & New G (Reunion Choir) closes out the night at the pavilion.

Ricky Dillard | Courtesy DCASE
Ricky Dillard | Courtesy DCASE
Courtesy DCASE

This year also marks a new partnership between the festival and The Stellar Awards in celebration of Chicago as the home of modern gospel music, Wednesday’s announcement stated. On June 1, from 5 to 9 p.m., the Pritzker Pavilion will be home to a special evening of music as for the Stellar Awards’ celebration honoring Black Music Month and the National Museum of Gospel Music, featuring Hezekiah Walker, Anthony Brown & group therAPy, Koryn Hawthorne, Tasha Page Lockhart and Maranda Curtis.

“Gospel music is the inspiration for so many music genres including the blues, soul, R&B, pop and jazz,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, via statement. “We look forward to celebrating the music that started here in Chicago more than 80 years ago and are honored to be partnering with the Stellar Awards. This is one of the most ambitious rosters of artists that we have presented in years.”

Here’s the lineup:

FRIDAY MAY 31

Chicago Cultural Center – Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Noon–12:20 p.m.: Dave Martin & GSM

12:25–12:45 p.m.: Mechelé Burtley

12:50–1:10 p.m.:The Bournés

1:15–1:35 p.m.: Delagraentiss

1:40–1:50 p.m.: Angel Sharkey

1:55–2:15 p.m.: Providence St. Mel School Choir

2:20–2:45 p.m.: Leanne Faine & Favor

2:55–3:20 p.m.: Travis D. Crockett & The Powerful Voices of Praise

3:30–4 p.m.: Jonathan Traylor

Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion

5:30–6 p.m.: Praise Party featuring All Nations Worship Assembly Praise Team

6:10 –6:55 p.m.: “Amazing Grace,” Celebrating the Music of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin

7:05–7:50 p.m.: The Music of Percy Bady and Percy Gray

8–9 p.m.: Ricky Dillard and New G (Reunion Choir)

SATURDAY JUNE 1

Millennium Park

North Promenade Tent

11 a.m.–5 p.m.: Kids Activities and Vendors

Spirit Stage

Noon–12:10 p.m.: Celestial Ministries Drum Line

12:15–12:35 p.m.: Min. Shannon T. Lowe featuring FYRE Choir and Jr. Vessels of Victory Apostolic Church

12:40–12:55 p.m.: Musical Arts Institute Jubilate Ensemble

1–1:15 p.m.: A4L

1:25–1:50 p.m.: Bridgette Hurt

2–2:25 p.m.: Tone Ross & INSPIRED

2:35–3 p.m. Ron Poindexter

3:10–3:50 p.m.: ChicagoMade featuring the Stars of Heaven and VJ McCoy and Worship Experience

4–4:30 p.m. Pastor Daniel X. Smith & NSMIC

Millennium Park–Jay Pritzker Pavilion

5–9 p.m.: The Stellar Awards will present a celebration honoring Black Music Month and the National Museum of Gospel Music the Stellar Awards featuring Hezekiah Walker, Anthony Brown & group therAPy, Koryn Hawthorne, Tasha Page Lockhart and Maranda Curtis.