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The fourth annual Milwaukee Gospel Jubilee is slated for Friday, Feb. 3 at Turner Hall Ballroom.
The fourth annual Milwaukee Gospel Jubilee is slated for Friday, Feb. 3 at Turner Hall Ballroom. (Photo: Kelsea McCulloch)

Fourth annual Gospel Jubilee testifies for a great cause

For the fourth straight year, the Milwaukee Gospel Jubilee will bring together local gospel performers working in a variety of musical styles to benefit Progressive Community Health Centers, which provide medical, dental and integrated behavioral health services to underserved and uninsured Milwaukeeans.

The Jubilee takes place Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Turner Hall Ballroom and will include some top-shelf Milwaukee talent, including the legendary Queens of Harmony, Voices of Faith, The Sermonettes, O.W.’s Exalters and SistaStrings.

SistaStrings is a Milwaukee duo that blends classical instrumentation with gospel traditions. Definitely something to see.

For the past year or so, I’ve been listening almost exclusively to gospel when I run most every day – albeit gospel of the gritty 1960s-era Jamaican variety, like this...

...so I’m definitely putting this show in my calendar.

John Sieger – of The R&B Cades, Semi-Twang, The Subcontinentals, etc. – started the event in 2013. Sieger is a Progressive Community Health Centers board member (as well as an occasional OnMilwaukee contributor).

"What gospel music does is it elevates," Sieger said in a press release for the event. "Practiced in churches across Milwaukee and virtually every city and town in America, gospel is a gift of massive proportions – yet it often remains hidden from mainstream public view. Subtract it from the cultural landscape, and nearly everything you love about modern music falls into a vacuum.

"It’s not an exaggeration to say that, without gospel, there would be little in pop, rock or rhythm & blues worth listening to. That includes everything from James Brown to The Beatles. Music that endures this long and influences so many is doing something worthy of our attention."

Adds my friend Adam Carr, "At this bewildering moment in our country, I think it’s critically important that we recognize and honor the strength that exists within our own communities. The Gospel Jubilee is a chance to see a deeply rooted art form that quietly – and sometimes loudly – thrives in our city."

Tickets for the show are $20 and benefit a great cause; Progressive served about 9,000 patients in 2015. Tickets can be had at 144 E. Wells St., online at pabsttheater.org or by calling the box office at (414) 286-3663.

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