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Gospel Before Gridiron: Fantasia, NFL Players' Choir to Welcome Super Bowl with Joyful Noise

by Samantha Hilsenrod

Any good Southern football fan knows that before the game comes church. In a city as musical as New Orleans, it is only fitting that the kickoff celebration for the Super Bowl should be a melodious one. On February 1, NFL players and Grammy award winning artists will join together on stage in the 14th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at the University of New Orleans' Lakefront Arena.  



Emmy award winning co-host of ABC’s “The View” Sherri Shepherd and seven-time Grammy-award winning gospel musician Kirk Franklin will host the star- studded event. Fantasia, the platinum selling American Idol vet, will headline the concert, which will include performances by top gospel and contemporary Christian artists Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Winans, Bishop Paul S. Morton. The hip-hop Christian artist Lecrae will also make an appearance.


Despite the wide array of national acts that will be found on the arena stage, the highlight of the event is sure to be the NFL Player’s Choir. In its sixth year, the choir is composed exclusively of professional football players, including Pro-Ballers and Hall of Famers. More than 40 athletes will serenade concert-goers in a rousing gospel performance, giving fans the opportunity to see a personal side of the players that can only be viewed off the field.  Performers include Donald Driver (Greenbay), Dwight Freeney (Colts), and Antwaan Randle El (Steelers), to name a few. Expect this year’s performance to be the best yet, since the singers will surely be channeling the soul of New Orleans native and legend Mahalia Jackson, “the Queen of Gospel”.


“We founded this event to bring even more power and celebration to one of the biggest events of the year – the Super Bowl,” says Melanie Few-Harrison, Creator & Producer of Super Bowl Gospel Celebration. “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.”


Founded in 1999, the Gospel Celebration was officially endorsed by the NFL in 2012, and remains the only concert authorized by the league.  


“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,” said Tisha Ford, NFL Director of Events Business Development.  


The concert also has a cause, since its inception in 1999 the celebration has donated a portion of its proceeds and more than 4,000 tickets to local and national charities. This year's benefactors also have a New Orleans tie: the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, founded by Malcolm Jenkins of the New Orleans Saints, and the Sharper Kids Foundation, developed by former Saint Darren Sharper, both aim to improve the quality of life for youth in underserved communities.


Be sure to buy your tickets now, as the show named “One of the Best Super Bowl Events to Attend” by USA Today is sure to sell out! Tickets are available here.



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