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Friday, November 18, 2016

Students Open for Grammy Award-Winning Artist

What’s it like to be the opening act for a man who has spent the last two decades topping music charts? The students in Mansfield ISD’s newly formed All-District High School Gospel Choir will be able to answer that on Friday night.

Kirk Franklin, who has won many prestigious awards for his singing, songwriting and producing on gospel songs, will grace the stage of the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 18.

Wright conducts his choir class at Mansfield High.
The concert will feature select students and community members as the opening act. The all-district gospel choir will then break away from the mass choir and perform to the crowd on their own.

Choir Director Reginal Wright from Mansfield High School said he envisioned having a gospel choir for all MISD high school students, and his vision quickly turned into a reality with a surprise visit from Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas.

“Dr. V walked into my office about two weeks after that and said, ‘We have Kirk Franklin coming to town, and I want a gospel choir,’” Wright recalled.

Auditions began in September. Katie Swan said she was thrilled to make the cut.

“Gospel music is a way to express yourself, and it’s energetic, and it’s fun,” said the sophomore.

The student gospel singers have spent hours each day perfecting the music.

The opening choir consists of students and community members.
Junior Dylan Ngo said he likes the music, but also enjoys the inclusiveness he feels among his fellow singers.

“It’s so hype,” Ngo explained. “It’s like you can be yourself around them, and there’s no judgement."

The fact that the students are going to open for Kirk Franklin is definitely an added bonus, especially for senior Anyse Dawson whose parents have been listening to Franklin before she was even born.

“That's the coolest part," she said. "I’ve never met somebody famous and someone of that relevance."

Wright said the choir gives students a change from the traditional classical music that is taught in the classroom. He added that he sees the choir continuing for years to come. 

More information about the Kirk Franklin concert is available here.