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'The Shout' gospel workshop in St. Petersburg will honor Juneteenth

A Black choir dressed in shades of yellow and grey stand behind a man in a grey suit and a yellow bow tie.
Warehouse Arts District
Dr. Kevin Parrott and a choir.

Kevin Parrott will lead the one-day workshop, "The Shout" and he said there will be audience participation.

Juneteenth is a day of celebration and of freedom.

And there’s an interactive workshop coming to the ArtsXchange campus in St. Pete on June 19.

Kevin Parrott, the dean of education at the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, is bringing “The Shout” to St. Petersburg this Wednesday.

"So, when I was, thinking about what to call this session, it came very loud and clear to me, “The Shout,” because in most of our African American churches, and in some of our other culture churches as well, there's this big, joyful and jubilant sound that really appeals to the soul," he said.

"The Shout!" offers a deep dive into the vibrant traditions and profound expressions that define gospel.

"Gospel music is intelligent music. It is a part of education; it is a part of history. And so I want individuals to walk away with a clear understanding of what this thing called gospel music is, and what “The Shout” is all about,” Parrott said.

He said some of the music is rooted in the lives of enslaved people, who were not free to openly express their feelings.

"Mostly after when when we talk about the old — which we call a "spiritual," but before that they were called field songs — and so the connection with those field songs, we'll see a line and a lineage that leads us all the way up to gospel music," he said.

Enslaved people also found a kind of liberty in African American churches.

"During that slavery time when slaves were not allowed to communicate, were not allowed to talk, especially, you know, if they were in the fields working, they came up with these very creative ways of communicating with each other through song," he said.
He said the spirit of those songs lives on in African American churches, but this gathering is not just for one particular group of people.

“There's so many songs that lead us to that whole topic of joyful jubilation and just expressing yourself because a lot of this came out of and not only enslaved people, but and you really can't say African American people, just people in general period, where we use music to comfort our souls,” he said.

Parrott said one song that captures the essence of this message is "Come on Children, Let's Sing" by the late Rev. James Cleveland.

"The Shout" is Wednesday night at 6at the ArtsXchange Campus in St. Petersburg.

Parrott said he hopes people will come away from this workshop with an appreciation of "soul" gospel music.

I love telling stories about my home state. And I hope they will help you in some way and maybe even lift your spirits.