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Chicago, IL — Grammy Award winners are among the headliners set to perform at the  2013 Gospel Music Festival in Bronzeville this summer, which will also include a new “Battle of the Chicago Gospel Choirs,” the city announced Wednesday.

The festival takes place June 20-23. Musicians are set to play at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park the first night, The Chicago Cultural Center the next night and Ellis Park at 37th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in Bronzeville on June 22 and 23. 

Smokie Norful, who won a Grammy Award in 2005 for Contemporary Soul Gospel Album of the Year, is among the headliners playing at Ellis Park Saturday, June 22.

Another performer at Ellis Park that Saturday is Tamela Mann, who in addition to singing gospel has also appeared as an actress in Tyler Perry plays and the films “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and “Meet the Browns.”

John P. Kee and New Life, Lecrae and host Vickie Winans are also on for June 22, the city said.

On June 23, Grammy Award-winning Joe Ligon and The Mighty Clouds of Joy will headline, along with singer Kierra Sheard and The Brat Pack, made up of Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Ricky Dillard and Donald Lawrence. Singing back-up vocals for the group are Dexter Walker and Zion Movement.

The rest of the lineup will be announced in May, the Department of Cultural Affairs said.

New this year is the “Battle of the Chicago Gospel Choirs,” which will allow city choirs to compete with one another in several rounds.

Entries for the competition must be received by May 7. The first round takes place May 18 at Austin Town Hall Park and June 1 at the Washington Park Fieldhouse. The grand finale round will take place on the festival’s opening night at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and the winning choir will be featured on stage in Bronzeville the last day of the festival. 

The festival is presented by the city and the Black McDonald’s Operators Association, which is comprised of more than a dozen Chicago and Northwest Indiana area McDonald’s restaurant owners.

Courtesy of