Jazz Fest 2023 may have ended, but if you did it right, you’re probably still hearing the vibrant tones of the festival ringing in your ears. Even with a dash of bad weather and no crawfish bread, this year’s festival brought in huge crowds. Among them were the friends and family of performing local church choir members, attending for free because of a unique and brand-new sponsorship. This year, the Gospel Tent was presented by Morris Bart, and that came with a few surprises.
“All these gospel singers go, they sing their heart out and with such passion, and they don’t have any way to invite their friends and family because tickets are so expensive,” said Mr. Bart when the idea of sponsorship first came up.
It was that rub that pushed him to say yes, under one condition: Mr. Bart was to receive over 1,000 tickets to distribute to those local church choirs, which is exactly what happened. Over 500 members from 12 local choirs were given two tickets each to invite whomever they’d like to see them perform, and the turnout was incredible. To anyone who passed by, a joyous cacophony could be heard from the Gospel Tent; its seams bursting with voices bigger than Lake Pontchartrain, its aisles filled with people clapping and dancing. And its most frequent visitor? Morris Bart himself.
“The Gospel Tent has always been my favorite,” he told the choir of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, one of the 12 choirs whose members received tickets. He stopped by to give them out himself and shared, “I feel very privileged and honored to be sponsoring this year.”
The other church choirs who received tickets were:
Mount Hermon Baptist Church, New Hope Baptist Church, Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries, Abundant Life Tabernacle, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Nineveh Baptist Church, City of Love Church, St. Raymond and St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, and St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.
Thank you to all the performers who made this year’s Jazz and Heritage Festival one of the best ones yet!