After a year away due to Covid, Soulful Christmas is thrilled to be returning to the Kimmel Cultural Campus. This is one of Philadelphia’s most cherished holiday traditions, featuring an evening of gospel and joyful holiday music. One difference will be that health measurements will be used to ensure that everyone remains healthy.

J Donald Dumpson, Creator, Artistic and Music Director for A Soulful Christmas, encourages all to come and have communion. He assures “that you don’t have to be a Christian to be welcomed and attend” especially now as we were having our first gathered holiday post-Covid.

What can the audience expect after a year off? They will still have access to the various talented choirs from across the region. Dumpson created the event in 2012, inspired by the African diaspora, and collaborated with Kimmel Cultural Campus, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Heritage Chorale.

He would like the community to know that “Our hearts are open and filled with gratitude. The idea of being able to safely gather with the community is something that I carry close to my heart. Gathering to sing and in this case celebrate the birth of Christ is no simple matter. It means a lot to me.”

Matias Tarnopolsky (President and CEO, The Philadelphia Orchestra & The Kimmel Center, Inc.)additionally stated that he feels “It’s what the region needs after everything we have gone through. Verizon Hall has transformed into a sanctuary creating a space of peace and harmony.” Both reiterating the theme of welcome and union during this challenging time.

Unlike previous years, the event will be scaled back by featuring a smaller number of singers. The singers will also practice social distancing on a larger stage at Verizon Hall.

Dumpson reasoned that it would be more advantageous to have a single coral ensemble due to safety precautions. Dumpson assures us that “this will not detract from the audience experience.” The attendees will also be treated to a beautiful color display but “I want it to be a surprise,” he gleefully shared.

A traditional portion of the program, such as the “Silent Night” Candlelight finale, will be kept intact.

In conjunction with the singing, the audience will be treated to the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ and The Finale of Lights. The addition of Praise dancers will enhance the concert experience for the audience.

The featured performer of the evening will be Kathy Taylor. She is a gospel singer from Texas who is well-known throughout the country, having received critical acclaim for her soulful performances. Having previously performed for Queen Elizabeth, former President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee to name a few.

Tarnopolsky additionally wants attendees to know that the Kimmel Cultural Campus takes care to ensure the safest environment. They have amended the air vac system to ensure more ventilation and fresh air is circulated. Additionally, all attendees must wear masks, be vaccinated, or show a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken 48 hours earlier.

The organizers also would like the community to purchase their tickets directly from the Kimmel Cultural Campus site instead of outside vendors. Visit kimmelculturalcampus.org

So make plans to reunite on Dec. 14 for some great singing and community.

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