(Photo: Screenshot/Super Bowl Gospel)
As a prelude to this upcoming Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII game, gospel and contemporary Christian artists will gather in New Orleans on Friday to participate in the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, an NFL sanctioned musical event which marks its 14th year in 2013.
"We founded this event to bring even more power and celebration to one of the biggest events of the year – the Super Bowl," Melanie Few-Harrison, creator & producer of Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, recently told The Christian Post.
"Each year we aim to make the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration bigger than the last with artists and special guests from all backgrounds. Given the rich musical history and culture of New Orleans and a powerful line-up of talent, this year's concert will be sure to kick off Super Bowl Weekend," Few-Harrison added.
This year's event, which will be held at the Lakefront Arena in the city's metro area, will be hosted by television personality Sherri Shepherd and gospel musician Kirk Franklin, and will feature such popular musical acts as Christian hip hop artist LeCrae, R&B singer Fantasia, Marvin Winans, Donnie McClurkin, and Bishop Paul S. Morton.
Additionally, the event will feature an NFL Players Choir, in which current and former NFL players show their Christian faith and love of gospel by singing on stage under the musical guidance of McClurkin.
Previous NFL players to attend the gospel celebration include Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles, among others, and this year Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens will receive the Lifetime of Inspiration Award at Friday's event.
"The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration has been a formal sanctioned partner for over a decade, and has played an integral role in bringing together fans and football players under one roof with a shared love of inspirational music," Tisha Ford, NFL director of events business development, also told The Christian Post via email.
Friday's gospel celebration precedes Sunday's Super Bowl game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, and will include headlining musical performances of its own, such as female vocalist Beyonce performing the game's half-time show.