PITTSBURG -- The mighty voices of the gospel choir of Los Medanos College will once again fill the school's recital hall this Saturday.

The 19th annual fund-raising concert will feature special guest Kathy Taylor-Brown, a Houston-based gospel recording artist who has performed before Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II, among others.

Gospel choir director Silvester Henderson sees the power of music as not only as a way to bring people together, but also as a way to connect with youth living in poor communities who aren't interested in going to college.

"Music can be an entry point for encouraging human values and developing relationships and stimulating the interest to learn, which is the ultimate point of education. The more people are educated, the more a community improves," Henderson said.

To that end, he has embarked on a year-long outreach campaign geared to youth groups, educators and politicians that focuses on encouraging low-income youth to sign up for classes that teach music. That can set the stage for teachers to encourage these students to take other classes and obtain a broader education and develop critical thinking skills, a path that Henderson has helped some of his own students in the gospel choir navigate.

Too often, he said, educators have put too much of a focus on science, technology, education and math, and too little attention on the liberal arts.

"I want to pump up the volume of liberal arts, of which music is a part," he said. "Music transforms hearts, which in return drives emotions to seek life purpose and achievement. It is through the discipline of music that all forms of education can be achieved."


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In addition to performances by the 55-member Los Medanos gospel choir and Taylor-Brown, other acts include Ashling Cole, lead singer for legendary bassist Larry Graham; Angelo Luster, Los Medanos College artist-in-residence; Palma Ceia Baptist Church Women's Chorus; Casey and Erica Pringle, Michael Blankenship Quintet; La Fuerza Gigante and comedian Lenard "The Kyd" Jackson.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.

IF YOU GO
What: Los Medanos College's 19th annual Gospel Celebration
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Recital Hall, Los Medanos College, 2700 E. Leland Rd. Pittsburg
Cost: $15 advance purchase, $17 at the door
Information/advance tickets: 925-439-0200 or 925-439-2181, ext. 3249