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Songs of gratitude

Gospel concert opens Juneteenth celebration

Denton’s Juneteenth observance begins Friday with a gospel concert in Fred Moore Park, at 500 S. Bradshaw St.

Juneteenth remembers the historic month when news of emancipation finally reached Texas slaves in 1865.

Gospel is a big musical tent, so expect traditional gospel choral music as well as newer gospel music, praise and worship style music with R&B stylings.

Gospel Night’s headlining acts are Larry Brooks and the New Zion Travelers, and Toni Nelson. The lineup also includes GFT Clique, Sons for Christ, God’s Promise, Total Witness, Cassandra Berry, Clint Sturgeon and Lester Robinson, the Way Christian Center Praise & Worship Team, Darius Henderson, Deon Sims, Hood Redemption, Adrian Peace and Gabrielle Blanchard.

Larry Brooks and the New Zion Travelers grew up in the gospel tradition, and Brooks has performed with gospel luminaries Willie Neal Johnson and the Keynotes and the Texas Boys.

Brooks’ quartet released its sophomore record, Still Waiting, in 2010. The quartet will release its third project in the fall.

Nelson is familiar to Denton gospel fans. Nelson, who attended the University of North Texas, sang the tenor part of the female gospel ensemble God’s Rain. She is a minister and praise and worship leader at Miracle Temple Church. She’s released a single, “Revive Me,” and is finishing her debut album, Masterpiece Exposed.

Gospel Night begins at 6 p.m. at the C.H. Collins Stage, at 629 Lakey St.

Juneteenth continues on Saturday, with parade entrants lining up at 9 a.m. at the Denton Civic Center. The parade starts at 10 a.m., heading down Bell Avenue to Fred Moore Park. Activities at the park include children’s games, vendor booths and entertainment beginning at 10 a.m.

Performances on the Collins Stage resume at 7 p.m. Saturday with an evening of R&B, soul and hip-hop. The night is scheduled to close out with UNT alumnus Quentin Moore at 9:45 p.m. and the Inner-City All Stars at 10:15 p.m.

Admission to all Juneteenth activities is free.

— Staff report