Raising the roof of the Knight Concert Hall since the 2007-2008 season, Free Gospel Sundays spotlights the art form of gospel music, Miami’s rich gospel scene – and the strength of South Florida’s giving community.
Almost 50,000 people have attended the annual four-concert series for free over the past decade, thanks in part to the generosity of Miami-based foundations and philanthropists.
Rodney and Michelle Adkins, two home-grown success stories, are the latest donors to lead support for the concert series. Rodney, who was the 1976 valedictorian at Miami Jackson Senior High School, and Michelle, the 1979 salutatorian at the same school, recently returned home to live after Rodney retired as the first African American senior executive with IBM. The two are founding donors of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
“Watching people walk for blocks away to come to Free Gospel Sundays at the Arsht Center is a sight to behold,” Michelle Adkins says. ““Gospel music touches people’s lives. It’s important for everyone to have access to that.”
In 2015-2016, Performing Arts Center Trust Board Member Beverly Parker and her husband, Bill Parker, passed the torch of sponsorship to the Adkins after the Parkers led individual financial support of Free Gospel Sundays for three years.
The series owes much of its start to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which awarded Free Gospel Sundays one of its first Knight Arts Challenge grants and continued to support the series for seven years. Historically, The Miami Foundation and Funding Arts Network have funded the concerts through annual grants. The Green Family Foundation, The Israel, Rose, Henry & Robert Wiener Charitable Foundation and individual donors who comprise the Friends of Free Gospel Sundays continue to be steadfast supporters of Free Gospel Sundays, along with gospel radio station WMBM 1490 AM.
With Local 10 evening news anchor Calvin Hughes as MC and Pastor Marc Cooper as director of the all-star Miami Mass Choir, Free Gospel Sundays continues as a vibrant tradition at the Arsht Center, delivering the power of gospel music for all.
*First-Access Passes can be reserved by calling the Adrienne Arsht Center box office at 305-949-6722 or online at www.arshtcenter.org (limit four per person). Passes typically become available four to six weeks prior to each show date. The passes provide patrons with first access to seating in the theater. Seating is “first-come, first-served” for the performance and passes do not guarantee a seat. Patrons who do not have a First-Access Pass can join the stand-by line beginning at 4 p.m. outside the theater on the day of the show. First-Access passes expire at 4:45p.m. on the day of the show. Patrons in the stand-by line will be allowed into the theater beginning at 4:45 p.m. if seats are still available.