'Goshen' brings free gospel music, dance performance to Millennium Park

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A special musical celebration will take place later this week, showcasing the rich gospel heritage here in Chicago. The free event coming to Millennium Park is called "Goshen," based on the story of the Exodus.

"I would say that it's very conceptual," said musical artist and producer Donald Lawrence. "It goes through a lot of genres from spirituals to kind of Afro-beat, to hip hop to gospel to theater. Maybe jazz and character kinds of stuff. It goes through a lot of things."

The production, written and produced by the international gospel star, features instrumentalists, his Tri-City Singers and others choirs and the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

"It's been fun working with them, man and just to see it come to life and be so unique in the storytelling, with some of the stuff being African, some of it being character. It's been really cool, a lot of fun," Lawrence said.

When people come to the theater, they can expect an interactive experience.

"You can come, you can talk back at them, you can yell and clap. You can rejoice," Lawrence said. "I told people to bring their choirs, their praise teams, dance teams and just get inspired. Just celebrate art."

The Grammy and Stellar Award-winner Lawrence is still getting accolades for his musical direction in the recent Clark Sisters movie. He turned actresses into dead-ringers for the gospel legends.

"Putting five strangers in a studio and trying to make them sound like one of the greatest vocal groups in the world," Lawrence said. "Nobody could believe it when they heard it back."

Now in addition to his other projects, like BET'S "Sunday Best," Donald Lawrence is getting ready to bring this long-planned project to the stage here, then across the county. And he's doing it all from his home base in Chicago.

"Gospel music to Chicago is like country music is for Nashville. It's a lifestyle. It's not like anywhere else," Lawrence said.

The Goshen Preview takes place Wednesday, August 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park.

It was originally set for spring of 2020, but was postponed because of the pandemic. Now it's part of "Healing Chicago" and, once again, it's free.
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