Sounds of Freedom Event kicks off the opening of the Hezekiah Walker Center for Gospel Music
RICHMOND, VA – Grammy Award-Winning Gospel Artist Hezekiah Walker will join the Hezekiah Walker Center for Gospel Music to host Virginia Union University’s Juneteenth Celebration, “Sounds of Freedom.” The celebration takes place on June 19, 2021, from 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm on VUU’s Hovey Field.
The celebration will be rooted in music, as ten choirs from the surrounding area, including the VUU Choir, led by award-winning producer David Bratton, will take center stage to provide devotion through song.
“We are thrilled to launch the Hezekiah Walker Center for Gospel Music with this inaugural event. Virginia Union has built itself as an innovative institution of higher education, for more than 156 years of the university’s existence,” said Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President and CEO of Virginia Union University. “The Center for Gospel Music will not only provide world-class training and state-of-the-art education, it will also provide first-hand business experience in order for the next great gospel and religious leaders that this generation will see.” Lucas continued, “As you may know, the Virginia Union School of Theology has produced some of the world’s most renowned spiritual teachers. With the Center, we will begin to cultivate some of the greatest gospel musicians from around the world.”
The newly announced Hezekiah Walker Center for Gospel Music at VUU will focus on developing some of the world’s most talented musicians through education, training, and hands-on experience. The curriculum will revolve around the study of sacred arts and their relation to African heritage. Furthermore, the center will explore music and worship traditions that promote the comprehension of biblical texts. The curriculum is being comprised by a task force that has assembled some of the most well-trained and experienced educational, religious and musical minds the world has to offer.
Virginia Union is a direct reflection of the impacts of why the Juneteenth holiday is recognized. As a result of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln in 1863, Virginia Union began educating freed slaves from a building that once stood as a prison for runaways known as Lumpkin’s Jail, “The Devils Half Acre.” From that moment, VUU has been providing education for more than 156 years, producing a number of notable alum, especially in the religious field.
The celebration will be open to the public and is free of charge. Parking is available in the Hovey Field Parking Lot. In addition, to the celebration, Virginia Union will also take part in the battle against voter suppression. VUU will provide voter registration opportunities for those interested in enacting their rights to vote or receive information on voting, campaigning, and volunteer opportunities throughout the event. In an effort to ensure the safety of all, the university will not permit any coolers, glass containers, large bags, or umbrellas. However, lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged. There will be a number of black-owned vendors in attendance to provide food, beverages, and several other needs and services.