Gospel Music Kicks Off 20th Anniversary Of Evening Shade

Friday, April 25, 2014

The 20th season of Evening Shade is upon us with favorites from years past comprising the lineup for the five Fridays in May. The concerts are free at 6:30 p.m. each Friday in May in Johnston Park, between Inman and Ocoee Streets in downtown Cleveland.  

The Allied Arts Council of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce has offered Evening Shade concerts in Johnston Park for the past 20 years. Hundreds of residents gather each week and enjoy a wide variety of family-friendly musical talent, all provided to the public for free. Audiences bring their own chairs and sometimes a picnic dinner.

“To celebrate our 20th anniversary, the whole concept for this season was to present favorite artists that concertgoers have requested us to bring back,” Kyle Elrod, event organizer, explained. “We are excited that we can do just that for our 20th season.” 

The Tennessee Arts Commission has been a partner in the offering the concert series for almost 17 years by granting the Allied Arts Council matching funds for artist fees. The Arts Council then raises local sponsorships to match the grant and provide funds needed for advertising, sound equipment and other needs for producing an event. 

First Baptist Church is sponsoring the evening of gospel music.  

This year’s schedule includes the following:
May 2—Gospel Variety Night, Gaither Homecoming Style
May 9—The Collins Brothers Band
May 16—Spencer’s Own
May 23—Jericho Brass
May 30—Dennis Tufano, original voice of The Buckinghams. 

Mr. Elrod said, “We’re kicking off the season with gospel music, always an Evening Shade favorite. This genre has a rich heritage in this area, so we’re bringing some local and regional gospel musicians to the Johnston Park stage.”

Dwight Richardson, chairman of the Allied Arts Council, coordinated this season’s gospel night.

“Gospel music lovers of all ages enjoy the Gaither Homecoming Videos, so for the 20th anniversary of Evening Shade, the Allied Arts Council is presenting a little Gaither Homecoming-style concert of our own," said Mr. Richardson. “We are bringing back some of the gospel groups that have either headlined or shared the stage during gospel night over the years.”

The gospel musicians performing this Friday night include 2x2 Quartet, Trinity Trio, Heartstrings, Mercy’s Bridge, Mallory Ledford, Briar Lowe, First Baptist Ladies Ensemble and Danny Murray. 

“Danny Murray, who was once promotions director for Bill Gaither and Springhouse and directs the popular Voices of Lee, will be our host for the evening,” Mr. Richardson noted. “We may even have a little Red Back Hymnal singing.”

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