Gospel fest a big hit

Hundreds of people waited outside FAMU’s Multipurpose Center anxiously anticipating Bishop Hezekiah Walker to revive them at the Tallahassee Gospel Fest on Saturday. Classified as a bishop, pastor, overseer, choir director, songwriter, musician, and author, convergence is not an issue with this dynamic artist.Speaking in a low, subtle voice and dressed to perfection in a blue suit, Walker gave quite the performance.As time approached for the show to begin, students slowly arrived to hear sounds from the FAMU Gospel Choir, the Tallahassee Boys Choir and recording artist, Omega Forbes.Ashley Farrish, 23, a MBA student from Raleigh, N.C., showed her excitement before the event started. “I enjoy gospel music,” said Farrish. “Events like these are always positive for the school.” Farrish also said inspirational events should happen on a regular basis at FAMU. Student tickets for the concert were $15, and also sold at a special buy one, get one free rate. Few students took advantage of the opportunity. Adrian Ford, 21, a third-year biology student from Fort Myers, said one of the reasons he came to the event was to watch his church family sing behind Bishop Walker. “I’m looking forward to a great concert,” Ford said. “Walker is a great minister.” Ford, like Farrish, said more gospel events should have a presence on campus.The gospel choir showed off their skills and represented the school well by being Walker’s accompanying choir. Singing major hits, “I’m Sold Out” and “God Favors Me,” Walker kept everyone standing on their feet throughout the show. Walker ended the concert with a bang by promising to the audience that he would return. Concert attendees worked up a sweat grooving to the mellow gospel sounds. “I think that it was a dynamic idea to have this concert,” said Lawana King, employee from the office of communications. “He is a powerful man.” King says she loves the song, “God Favors Me,” and that is what made her decide to get Walker’s new album. Darwin Williams, 22, a fourth-year political science student from Ocala said, if the concert had more publicity from media organizations at FAMU, it would have drawn a larger crowd of students. “Overall it was a very nice event,” Williams said. “Everything went smoothly.” Williams also said he looks forward to Walker returning back to FAMU.Meeting Walker was an experience in itself. As the hostess of the show thanked the audience for coming, Walker scurried up the three flights of stairs to the third floor where he was surrounded by company. “I went to Long Island University and majored in sociology,” Walker said. He said majoring in sociology may be the reason why he has a strong connection with people. He also said that his connection to FAMU comes from the students who took the initiative to reach out to him. The artist started his leadership skills in the church as a choir director in 1985. Although Walker didn’t go to an HBCU, he says that it is an advantage because blacks are given the opportunity to grow and learn together. Walker also says that it is important for him to reach out to young people. “Youth is our future; the best thing to do with the future is invest in it now,” Walker said. With “God Favors Me” as a favorite song, Walker said the song speaks from the sentiments of his heart. “No matter what you may be going through, whether it be, church abuse, back-stabbers…regardless of what the issue is, God shows his favor,” Walker said. Walker’s comforting face turned serious when asked what type of advice he would give to a student who is trying to gain success; whether it be musically or academically.“Stay true to what you believe in, work on your craft, try to do as much as you can, let people recognize your gift, and it happens from there.” ? ? ?