While “rural” in nature, the Tri-State Region’s close proximity to Boston and New York City has, over many generations, created an atmosphere that is rich with Arts & Entertainment. A prime example is Gospelfest, which, led by the incomparable Michael Whitney Brown, is in its 17th year at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT.
Born in Bridgeport, CT, Brown moved to Virginia where he came to work with Songwriter and Producer Paul Leka. When Leka, who owned the Colgate Mansion in Sharon, CT invited Brown to work with him there in 1998, Brown fell in love with the area and quickly became a Northwest Corner resident. Shortly thereafter, The Hotchkiss School’s Patricia Johnson heard Brown perform at Noble Horizons and Brown was invited to become the Musical Director of the school’s choir. In addition to this role, Brown was also Musical Director at the Salisbury School for 12 years. Currently, Brown also directs the choirs at Westover, Taft and South Kent schools, and the choirs at many area churches.
Over the years, Gospelfest has grown to include to not only the school choirs that Brown leads, but faculty, and community members as well. Brown stresses that Gospelfest is non-denominational and open to all. Indeed, as anyone who has attended can attest, it is a joyful, uplifting experience, in which the audience members often become participants. Gospelfest takes place at 3:00 pm on Sunday, April 22 at The Hotchkiss School’s Katherine M. Elfers Hall, Esther Eastman Music Center. Seats go quickly, so it’s recommended to arrive early! While the event is free, there is a suggested $10 donation to benefit Habitat for Humanity.