• Penny Neef

VAF Pre-Season Events & Soweto Gospel Choir


Words courtesy of Penny Neef. Images courtesy of the Virginia Arts Festival.


Virginia Arts Festival officially begins the 2023 season on Friday, April 14 with Swan Lake, danced by Philadelphia Ballet, with music by Virginia Symphony Orchestra. You can read a preview of the VAF 2023 season right here on Spotlight News, and get more information about the entire season right here. It’s going to be a great season!


Virginia Arts Festival exists year-round, with performances, artist residencies, and educational opportunities for area schools. This year, there are quite a few pre-season events. Vienna Boys Choir will be performing holiday classics in Richmond, Norfolk, and Williamsburg December 11 – 13. The Attucks Jazz Club, an intimate venue on the second floor of the Attucks Theatre in Norfolk, has guest artists in January, February and March. Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis is coming to Chrysler Hall on February 25, and there is more. The best way to choose what you want to see and hear is go to the VAF’s calendar of events online - you can filter by date, location, genre and more.

The preseason event I’m most looking forward to is Soweto Gospel Choir – HOPE – It’s Been a Long Time Coming on Sunday, December 4 at Attucks Theatre in Norfolk. The Grammy Award winning Soweto Gospel Choir comes from South Africa. Their music is a blend of South African gospel and folk music, Negro spirituals, reggae, and American pop. HOPE – It’s Been a Long Time Coming will include songs of the civil right movements in both South Africa and America, with music made famous by Billie Holiday, James Brown, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. Since this is a December event, there will be holiday music too.

The venue for Soweto Gospel Choir is the historic Attucks Theatre in Norfolk. You can read up on the the history of the Attucks Theatre before you go. It is a unique part of the history of Norfolk, a little gem of a theater, and there is not a bad seat in the house. You will feel like you are sitting right next to the Soweto Gospel Choir. You will feel their joy and energy.


For more information and to purchase tickets (hurry on this one, the theater is small) go to – https://secure.vafest.org/soweto-gospel-choir-2023.



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