GRAYSLAKE – Chicago native Jonathan McReynolds, a Billboard No. 1 Gospel artist, will take the virtual stage at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 and for an encore at 3 p.m. Feb. 28 to lift up audiences at the free 37th annual Salute to Gospel music program hosted by College of Lake County.
“The college is proud to bring this gospel music tradition to homes in Lake County and around the country,” said Derrick Harden, CLC vice president and chief of staff. “While we all want to be in the same room to feel the vibe of live music together, this free virtual delivery lets our audience enjoy this cultural engagement safely from their homes. And without restrictions of time, place and paid tickets, our message will be heard even louder than when we sold out Genesee Theatre last year.”
The event began in 1986 as a performance opportunity to support the college’s Gospel Choir and has since evolved to become one of the most popular music programs put on by CLC. Over the years, it has attracted the gospel music industry’s best including The Winans, Shirley Caesar and last year’s feature performer, Bishop Hezikiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir.
“The program is more than just a concert,” Lakeshore Special Projects Coordinator JoHaan Cotton-Wilson said. “It serves as an outreach activity to encourage African American youth to appreciate the many advantages of a CLC education while motivating attendees to better their communities.”
The 31-year-old McReynolds first started performing in his dorm room in the presence of a few friends. He has since graduated to Christian music’s biggest stage, picking up fans such as Stevie Wonder, Lalah Hathaway, Kirk Franklin, Cece Winans, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Tori Kelly along the way.
His latest EP “People” is a collection of what McReynolds frames as “life music.”
“My albums are about being authentic and genuine, pure and transparent,” Reynolds said in a news release. “Life music is concerned with showing others and reminding myself how the faith doesn’t just fit every part of life but should frame every part of life.”
Special musical guests include MC4 from Evanston and The Sounds of Blackness.
Effie Rolfe, a Chicago-based media personality, speaker and author, will serve as emcee along with Cotton-Wilson.
The 2021 Harambee Award of Excellence will be presented to Waukegan Township Supervisor Patricia Jones and the Rev. Rick Harris of the First Baptist Church of North Chicago during the event.
Registration is required for the event. Visit www.clcillinois.edu/events/salutetogospel.