Updated: Jul 21
WHEN: 7 p.m., Friday, June 7.
For the past two years, my family and I, and several friends, have attended the amazing "Evanston Sings" gospel choir concert at Evanston Township High School (ETHS) that raises funds for Mayor Steve Hagerty's Youth Summer Employment Program and the The Officer and Gentlemen Academy, a volunteer program led by Evanston Police Department officers to mentor young men. Though the event is popular and well attended--mostly by Evanston's African American community--I've looked around the auditorium both times I've gone and bemoaned the too-many empty seats, and the too-few white faces. So many Evanston residents are missing the opportunity to participate in this evening of community, song, and support for Evanston's youth. With tickets at just $10 ($5 for kids 12 and under and for seniors 65 and older--FREE for 85-year-olds and up), this should be a standing-room-only and standing-ovation affair! The concert, which is organized by Pastor Zollie Webb, Sherry Gregory, and Randy Roebuck, is a project of Evanston Own It, a group of 11 Black Evanston churches working to help reduce youth gun violence in Evanston. The incredibly powerful gospel choir is made up of members from those churches and is led by music director Elder Walter Jones. This year, Evanston Sings will also feature a youth choir, and, as always, Evanston Black businesses offer their wares at the vendor fair before the show. To date, the event has raised $35,000, but, says Pastor Webb, his dream is to hit the $50,000 mark. This year, he is determined to raise $10,000. With 1,400 seats in the ETHS auditorium, a sold-out house would get Pastor Webb his wish--and then some. I was honored to be invited to watch this week's choir rehearsal at Friendship Baptist Church and got the chance to capture some singing and interview Pastor Webb and Elder Jones. Of course, this was a small sampling of the full choir--but you'll get the idea!
Tickets for the event are sold at various locations in Evanston--and Dear Evanston has a supply of $10 tickets and $5 tickets! If you'd like to purchase tickets, please email to arrange for payment and pickup/delivery! You can also purchase tickets at the door. Doors open at 5 p.m. It's time to meet, move, and mingle across our city's far too wide racial divide and raise needed funds to keep our young people employed and engaged this summer.