Kayaking at BdeMakaSka - Photo courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Festival Blog

2019 Festival of Homiletics - Minneapolis

"Preaching as Moral Imagination"



Musicians Profile #2: Gospel Showcase

We are blessed to welcome the following musicians here for the Festival in May to play on 5/22/2014 at 7:00pm at Central Lutheran Church: 

Darnell Davis & The Remnants

In listening to the musical styling of Darnell Davis & The Remnant it is apparent that not only are they called to spread the gospel through song, but they are chosen and anointed for this purpose. The Remnant is a Minneapolis, MN based gospel ensemble founded in 2004 by song writer, and producer Darnell Davis. The group has a ministry style that extends across traditional, contemporary and urban vibes allowing the group to reach a diverse audience with a powerful message embodied in each song. Darnell Davis & The Remnant’s debut album Psalms of the Remnant offered a fresh gospel ensemble sound and included the song “Stop Frontin” with Stokley from Mint Condition as guest lead. The sophomore album No Compromise set yet a higher standard than what was set by the debut project. The compelling energy of the No Compromise album landed the opportunity for the project to be featured on BET.com Listen Up. Just when one would have thought that Darnell Davis & The Remnant had peaked, their latest project REFOCUSED shows to be the launch pad of the next dimension in the group’s journey. The polished musicianship and distinctive vocal blends that they are known for is evident; while again boasting of Darnell Davis’ diverse writing style. His gift of making a well- rounded project is displayed through contemporary praise, worship and traditional songs, and even a jazz infused instrumental. It was in January 2013 during a showcase concert in Minneapolis when Stanley Brown, Senior A&R for RCA Inspiration, announced Darnell Davis & The Remnant as their newest signed gospel artist. With plans for a 2014 national release of their first project as a RCA Inspiration artist, Darnell Davis and The Remnant continue in their drive to revive and inspire people of varied cultures and backgrounds through song.

Jamar Esaw and the Triad: 4Christ

Jamar Esaw & Triad:4Christ is a 30 plus member choir that is set to become a driving force in Gospel music. Under the leadership of Gospel artist Jamar Esaw the choir has been polished into a group.  Established artist Vashawn Mitchell has taken a personal interest in helping guide and develop the career of this multi-talented group and also contributed to the production of their CD. With a debut release of “Prepare Me”, Jamar Esaw & Triad:4Christ deliver a classic choir project that combines a polished traditional sound in a youthful manner that has never been done before.

Triad:4Christ has been blessed to share the stage with some of the nation’s greatest gospel artist such as James Grear & Co., Vashawn Mitchell, Craig Hayes, Dewayne Woods, CeCe Winans, The Sounds of Blackness, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Juanita Bynum and Fred Hammond just to name a few. They have also appeared in four stage plays including “The Gospel of Colonus” which had over 50,000 in attendance. They recently competed in Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound competition where they advanced to the regional rounds.

Although the Choir has ministered on stages across the nation amongst great Gospel artists, this choir’s focus is grounded in HUMILITY and SERVICE. We strongly believe that without the support of the community, local churches, and the hearts of the people… OUR LABOR WOULD BE SELFISH and IN VAIN.

Tonia Hughes

Tonia Hughes is a national recording artist whose vocal style is colored with melodic acrobats and elements of Gospel, Blues, Jazz, R&B and Worship. The fusion produces a delivery that is authentic, incomparable and electrifying! Her latest release, I’m Ready Now,has garnered national exposure through influential press and radio airplay as a result of being selected in the Top Ten Independent Artist Category for GMC [Gospel Music Channel] Most Powerful Voices Competition; and Jawn Murray and EMI Gospel’s joint efforts to find the ten best unsigned artists in Gospel Music.  

Additionally, Tonia is a worship leader, which she is most known for. Her Kingdom anointing is evidenced by a heartfelt delivery that allows her to surpass racial, denominational and inter-generational barriers that often segregate worshipers.

She also has a passion for impacting the world and has served in several community service projects namely; Northside Twin Cities Community Benefit, a music effort to aid dozens of North Minneapolis residents impacted by the May 2011 tornado. The concert netted nearly $30,000 in cash and in-kind contributions valued at more than $80,000.

Tonia resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Brian Kendrick and their children.

Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson is reason to believe that the greatest music reaches every name and crosses every boundary, from audiences in the Pontiac SilverDome to troops in South Korea. Standing five foot five and sipping Diet Coke, Robert is “God’s canary.”

The son of a pastor and rooted in church choir tradition, Robert possesses an incredible range of vocal artistry. He has performed for Aretha Franklin, the Minnesota Orchestra, Andrae Crouch, Bobby McFerrin, and others. He was a featured solo artist at Promise Keepers, the Billy Graham Crusade, and the National Day of Prayer in Washington, DC, and was a featured vocalist with nationally celebrated pianist Lorie Line for 15 years. He was also voted Best Male Vocalist the by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and City Pages.

Robert is immersed in community service, ministering at prisons and serving as master clinician in schools in communities across America. He has 13 solo recordings to his credit and has collaborated with numerous artists in the Twin Cities and throughout the Midwest. Robert has found an abundance of love in his relationship with God.  His goal in music is to share that love with others through his gift of song. His message is truly one of comfort and love to all people.

Billy Steele

Billy Steele is a world-renowned singer, worship leader, songwriter and keyboardist . Billy writes and produces for the Grammy Award winning ensemble, the Sounds of Blackness. He is currently serving as their Assistant Director. Billy is also the co-recipient of three Grammy Awards via this talented ensemble. He continues to write and produce for various artists, including his family, the Steeles. Billy sings and plays keyboard regularly for Sara Renner & The Elements at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, MN. Together they led worship each week at the Wednesday Worship service.

The Hurst Family

The Hurst’s have been a musical family from the start. They first began performing in their church ministries and community choirs in Peoria, Illinois. Family members, David and Rachel have been singing for as long as they can remember. David Hurst has become a well-known musician throughout Minnesota and Illinois. Fellow family members Jackson and Kennadi started singing at a very young age. This multi-talented family includes its own organist and drummer to add to the singers and actors.

The Hurst family has graced the stage with an array of legendary artists including national recording artist, Luther Vandross, as well as some of Gospel’s greats: Kim Burrell, the Cark Sisters, The Sounds of Blackness, Excelsior and James Grear & Co to name a few. You will be hearing more from this family very soon, but be on the lookout for David Hurst’s new project to be released in 2014.

This family loves what they do and has a passion for God and their community. In keeping with that mission they established theWilling Workers Ministries. The Hurst’s are currently members of High Praise Ministries at the Destiny Center under the leadership of Apostle DeWayne & Pastor Parthia Hill.

Sarah Renner

Throughout her 20-year professional music career, soul singer Sara Renner has shared her unique blend of Gospel & Jazz music with audiences in over 1000 venues in 30+ states and 10 countries.  Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota this award-winning vocalist and songwriter has independently produced six CDs which sold exclusively at her live concerts and the internet, have sold over 35,000 copies in the United States and the world.  Also a seasoned worship leader, Sara Renner is currently the Director of Contemporary Worship at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, MN.  Sara completes her diverse musical resume as lead singer for the always busy party & dance band “The Covers”, with whom she passionately interprets the songs of her musical heroes such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Stevie Wonder.

Sara is often accompanied by her band “The Elements”; an impressive group of musicians who support her original music with their talents. Whether accompanied by one or two musicians in an acoustic setting or her full 11-piece band, Sara’s powerful and crisp vocal delivery, the integrity of her message and her vulnerable and funny storytelling open up a rare window into the human soul.

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