An Evening of Gospel Choirs

Antioch Christian1


The Evening of Gospel Choirs, presented by the American Studies Department, celebrates Black History Month. It is an annual event held the last Saturday in February and is the longest continuous running and best-attended Black History Month program at Rutgers University. Every year the program of music and spirituality features some of the best church choirs in the central New Jersey area. The event is under the direction of Prof. Angus Kress Gillespie and a student committee.

An Evening of Gospel Choirs
Saturday, February 29, 2020
7:00 PM
Busch Student Center

Gospel Singers will spotlight Black History Month with a concert of spiritual music at Rutgers University’s Busch Student Center at 7:00 pm on Saturday, February 29, 2020. The Master of Ceremonies for the event will be Pastor Brenda Lumzy Hicks of Mt. Calvary Missionary Church of New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The headline singer for the event will be Essence Rose, recording artist and soloist of New Brunswick, whose latest album is “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.”  She has been singing to large audiences ever since she was a little girl under the direction of her legendary mother, Pastor Brenda Lumzy Hicks.

Also singing will be the Unity Choir of First Baptist Church of South Bound Brook, the Community Choir of Mt. Calvary Missionary Church, and the Mass Choir of the Macedonia Free Will Baptist Church.  All three groups are known for encouraging active audience participation and for providing spiritual uplift.

Keynote speaker will be Professor Paul Clemens of Rutgers University, who will note that 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) which gave the right to vote to black men following the Civil War.  Interestingly enough, the first African-American to vote in an election, after the 15th Amendment was approved, was Thomas Mundy Peterson of nearby Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

This annual, free, public concert at New Jersey’s State University’s Busch Student Center, is sponsored by the American Studies Department and the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. The program is produced by Pastor Brenda Lumzy Hicks in New Brunswick with Professor Angus Kress Gillespie of the American Studies Department of Rutgers University.

Location Busch Student Center | 604 Bartholomew Road, Piscataway NJ
Free admission and free parking. To register your car for free parking at the Gospel Concert, please call Emily at 848.239.8246 or Nina at 732.421.7514 on any Wednesday between 4:00 and 8:00pm.

For more information, call 848.445.INFO (4636).


New Jersey Folk Festival


The New Jersey Folk Festival is an annual festival, held the last Saturday in April as part of Rutgers day, presented under the auspices of the American Studies Department which attracts 15,000 people to the sprawling grounds of Eagleton Institute. The festival's plan is a celebration of regional folk culture–folk arts, farm arts, folk music, and contemporary crafts. The goal is to stimulate awareness and appreciation for folklore and folk-life, past and present. The Folk Festival is now under the direction of Dr. Carla Cevasco and Dr. Maria Kennedy, following the legacy of Professor Angus Gillespie, and a committee of students, each of whom is responsible for coordinating various aspects of the festival.

This year’s theme is Oaxaca and will be taking place Saturday, April 25th, 2020 on Douglass Campus.

To find out more about being on the festival intern team, and for applications for festival internships, visit the website:


For information on the New Jersey Folk Festival, see or contact:

Dr. Carla Cevasco
Executive Director, New Jersey Folk Festival
Office: Ruth Adams Building, Room 203B

Dr. Maria
Administrative Director, New Jersey Folk Festival
Office: Ruth Adams Building, Room 203 D
Phone: 848-932-3292

Matthew J. Hueston
Associate Director, New Jersey Folk Festival
Office: RAB 024