Third Gospel Fest Set for Feb. 22

Now in its third year, the Gospel Fest concert continues to grow an audience, and Dr. Rosilee Walker Russell expects this year’s new venue to be an exciting change for attendees and performers.


Gospel Fest 2013, scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 22, will include the much-loved format of the first two concerts with both returning and new talent taking the stage, said Russell, executive director of the Academy of the Arts at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith. The UAFS Academy is the sponsor of the event.


The concert will be held downtown at the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S. 7th St. Tickets are $17 and $20, available through the UAFS Box Office in the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center by calling 479-788-7300, or ordering online at This year is reserved seating only. Proceeds will benefit young people in the arts through the Academy.


Russell of Fort Smith said Gospel Fest is a concert of gospel music presented by area soloists and choirs.


“The choir size will be close to 225 participants this year,” Russell said. “The music is again focused on southern gospel, black gospel and timeless hymns -- this is what everyone wants, and we love presenting it.”


Russell, Dawayne Stamper and Robert Wight will also be playing piano favorites, she said.


“This year’s concert includes the very popular preconcert music of mens’ southern gospel by a men’s quartet with some of the music ministers singing in this,” added Russell.


The concert repertoire will include “God is So Good,” “Boundless Love,” “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” “Jesus, What a Mighty Name,” “I Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy,” “Happy Day,” “Revive Us Again, “ Talk to the Lord About It,” “The King is Coming,” “He Touched Me,” “He Still Saves,” “Ransomed and Redeemed,” “Victory is Mine,” “Victory in Jesus,” “It is Well with My Soul” and “Assurance Medley.”


Russell said many of the popular soloists are back -- Barry Law, Pam Camp and Brian Gary, all of Fort Smith.


Other guest soloists for the event include Dru Baker, Susan Haines, Rosilee Russell, Chuck Blesch and Brandon Willey, all of Fort Smith; Andy Anderson, Barling; Dawayne Stamper, Lavaca; and Robert Wight, Alma. The Academy Children’s Choir and Chorale will also perform.


In years past Russell said the community has been very receptive to the broad line-up of entertainment.


“The last two years were tremendous concerts, with musicians from throughout the region all pulling together to provide a very special event,” she said. “The community loves this event, and we expect a sell-out. I would get tickets early.”


Participating worship leaders will be Donnie Crosswhite of First Baptist Church, Alma; Tom McCone of First Baptist Church, Greenwood; Joe Riggins of First Baptist Church Fort Smith; JR Smith of Butterfield Assembly of God, Van Buren; Steve Stewart of Rye Hill Baptist, Fort Smith; Blake Taylor of East Side Baptist Church, Fort Smith; Josh Teague of First Baptist Church, Lavaca; Zack Thomas of South Side Baptist Church, Fort Smith; David Tatum, First Baptist Church, Van Buren; and Joe Vallandingham of Concord Baptist Church, Alma.


The band for the concert will be led by Zach Thomas of Fort Smith and includes Gini Law, Dawayne Stamper and Robert Wight on piano and keyboard; Carol Andrews and Brittney Sivils, flute; Karl Tallakson, clarinet; David Wright and Dave Gullick, saxophone; Evan Mino, French horn; Travis Hutson, Greg Dixon and Jeff Peters, trumpet; Randy Bartmier, Robert Godette and Tristan Bobbitt, trombone; Tommy Hough,  tuba; Adam Coats, acoustic guitar; Dino Hutchings, electric guitar; Charles Goff, guitar; Karen Preston, bass guitar; and Friscoe Boyd and Alen Sopshire, drums.


For more information, visit or contact Kathy Zeller, administrative assistant, by email at or by telephone at 479-788-7251 or Sarah Taylor, administrative specialist by email at or by telephone at 479-788-7253. Tickets are available with cash or check at the Box Office. For more information, call 479-788-7300.


Date Posted: 
Friday, January 25, 2013
News Teaser: 
Now in its third year, the Gospel Fest concert continues to grow an audience, and Dr. Rosilee Walker Russell expects this year’s new venue to be an exciting change for attendees and performers.