Gospel on Glass was a hit this year in spite of the showers! This third annual free concert event was made possible once again by the Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife grant, and reflected the incredible talents of local musicians who regularly create gospel music for their churches right here in the neighborhood! This year’s event was in conjunction with the East Chatt Highlight Festival, a three-day event at the former Harriet Tubman housing site on Roanoke Ave. aiming to shine light on the good happening in this community.
While the audience sprouted bright umbrellas to stay as dry as possible, folks who may otherwise have been driven away by storm threats hung around to savor so much powerful singing all gathered in one place. As Marcellus Barnes, the afternoon’s curator and emcee says, “Many of these artists create recordings and could easily headline a concert experience as soloists, so to enjoy one another’s music out in the fresh air, all together, is a unique celebration and gift for this city.”
Attendees and musicians alike were struck by the wide open setting of this year’s event, held on the former site of Harriet Tubman Housing Projects, also known as Boone Heights. Young UPAFC soloist LeAsia Pope, a sophomore with a powerful voice commented that for local youth to get to come out and enjoy music together with their families, and play on “The Pool” art installation into the evening shines a positive light on the community.
The concert kicked off with a welcome from Demetrus Coonrad, the newly elected City Councilwoman for District 9, who grew up on the site of the festival before the demolition of the housing projects here. She praised the gathering of friends, neighbors, area resources represented (like Habitat for Humanity and UnifiEd) and talented musicians presenting their gifts in the tradition handed down in this area for generations.
The concert’s many highlights included area choirs’ rousing songs (some of which the audience joined in for) like music from the Miracle Baptist and Rock Island churches. Also danceable drum solos from Drummers Shed!!!! Jarrod White, Eddie Heyward, and DJ Gates. Gospel recording artists locally-based here in Chattanooga presented powerful solos. We heard from Ashley White, Trent Williams, and Cory Prather to name just a few!
Although many vendors and community organizations changed their plans based on the weather, we still wound up with some lovely tents with information from UnifiEd, CNE, Neighborhood Associations like Boyce Station and Glenwood, Zy Mori Dance Studio, Studio Everything, Father to the Fatherless, Habitat for Humanity, the Glass Farm Block Leaders, and naturally, Empower and GHC were there with energy information, free light bulbs, and Glass Street t-shirts for sale. Plus Coffee and Big Buff’s BBQ stuck out the weather, along with Pop’s Dogs and later, a very popular funnel cake vendor!
As the rain picked up toward evening, we were worried that those sticking around into the twilight hours would miss out on seeing “The Pool” art installation light up and be able to play and dance on it, but the rain let up just long enough to give folks an opportunity to try it out as the perfect capstone to another inspiring Gospel on Glass!
Please enjoy video footage from this year’s concert event on our YouTube channel link HERE!