How Disneyland Celebrated The History Of Gospel Music

Jekalyn Carr, DOE, and Erica Campbell recently performed alongside various Southern California choirs at the theme park.

During the last two weeks of February, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California held gospel concerts in conjunction with their “Celebrate Soulfully” experience. The event has been a Disneyland Resort tradition for the past decade, and this time it was held inside the theme park’s Fantasyland Theatre.

“Celebrate Soulfully is just one of the ways that Disneyland Resort aims to celebrate diversity through music, food and experiences throughout the year and elevate guests’ experience in meaningful and empowering ways,” said representatives for the park in a statement.

The first weekend featured performances from Jekalyn Carr, BET’s Sunday Best Season 9 winner Melvin Crispell and Sacred Groove. Local talent for the day also included Friendship Baptist Church Choir and FM2 & Intentional, among others.

During the second weekend, doused in heavy rain, DOE, The Singers of Soul and Erica Campbell performed. LA Inner City Mass Choir, Rhythm and Moves Youth Children’s Youth Community Choir and more rounded out the list of local performances.

“This powerful tribute to Gospel music showcases uplifting performances by award-winning Gospel music stars, recording artists and community choirs – each sharing their own distinctive style,” said Disneyland Resort Public Relations Manager Jessica Pineda.

Gospel wasn’t the only genre of music to receive recognition. Groups ranging from reggae and jazz band Mel Collins & Friends to six-piece r&b and funk outlet Forward Motion represented various takes on Black music at the Downtown Disney District, every evening during Black History Month.

The same appreciation for music went into the month’s food offerings as well. This included soul food bowls, peach cobbler donuts and Andouille mac and cheese alongside Black-owned food trucks.

It wouldn’t be Disneyland without some attractions representing their deep dive into Black culture and several at the main theme park and neighboring Disney California Adventure. The Main Street Opera House features a special video honoring the relationship between Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Meanwhile, Disney California Adventure featured an activation based on Disney+’s latest animated series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.

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