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Saturday in the Garden

With gospel music.

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Elizabeth Seton High School choir  

Try this scenario for an excellent Saturday morning: On February 16, once everyone is awake, fed, and dressed, head out the door (bring the paper; see below) and down to the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden. Pick up your second coffee and settle in to enjoy a free, glorious-sounding gospel-choir competition honoring Black History Month. First, at 10 a.m., come the youth-division choirs. Your kids should get a particular kick out of watching their contemporaries belt out traditional songs. “There are a couple of sisters from Brooklyn [in the East Flatbush Ecumenical Choir] who are 6 and 9. Most are grade-school age,” says Anne Salisbury, an Arts for Business representative (the group produces events for Pathmark, the sponsor of this gospel-off). There will be rows of seating but also room for youngsters—or not-so-youngsters— to run around and dance (do claim a seat, as this is your cue to crack open the paper). As for the music, expect exuberance. “Gospel takes many forms,” notes Salisbury. “Today, much of it is more closely related to modern music: lots of percussion, lots of accompaniment, even rap. Everything gets in there—some a cappella, some very beautiful voices.” The kids’-competition winner, out of a field of seven groups from as far as South Carolina and close as P.S./I.S. 116 in Queens, will be announced midday. Afterward, lunch in the neighborhood is a likely destination, but you can also stick around for the adults, who’ll sing all afternoon until a winner is announced at 5 p.m. Either way, “it’s just a happy time,” says Salisbury. Amen.

2/16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Winter Garden, West St. nr. Liberty St. (914-843-4946 or gospel5000.com); free.


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