Shawn Degenhart, a Washington native and 1993 graduate of Washington High School, is the head of Gospelfest Ministries, which will sponsor the upcoming sixth annual Christmastime GospelFest concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Five Points Washington.



Christmastime Gospelfest drew more than 1,000 people to Five Points last year to hear a concert of traditional southern gospel holiday music that celebrates Christmas. 


Shawn Degenhart, a Washington native and 1993 graduate of Washington High School, is the head of Gospelfest Ministries, which will sponsor the upcoming sixth annual Christmastime GospelFest concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Five Points Washington.

Christmastime Gospelfest drew more than 1,000 people to Five Points last year to hear a concert of traditional southern gospel holiday music that celebrates Christmas.  

Due to the overwhelming popularity of the performances, there will be two Christmastime Gospelfest concerts this year instead of one.  

In addition to the Dec. 7 concert in the Caterpillar Performing Arts Center at Five Points, there will be a second Christmastime
Gospelfest concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Normal. Both concerts are sponsored by the non-profit
Gospelfest Ministries Inc. and Hoerr’s Berean Bookstore.

“The concerts unabashedly embrace the joy of the birth of Jesus Christ through music that touches people’s hearts. That old-fashioned gospel music is a vehicle for spreading the good news of love and forgiveness that is the bedrock of Christian faith,” said Degenhart.  

Degenhart began taking piano lessons in the seventh grade and was quickly regarded as a gifted music student. By high school he was the pianist for Washington High School musicals and was singing in both the show and concert choirs. Degenhart went on to college at Illinois State University and received a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition and music history followed by a Master of Music degree in choral conducting. For three years he also went to the Stamps-Baxter School of Music each summer for two weeks to attend their southern gospel music camp. He has now been teaching at this gospel school for the past seven years.

The 2010 Christmastime Gospelfest concerts will showcase many classic gospel tunes that evoke sweet memories of times gone by, in addition to traditional Christmas songs and several original Christmas songs written by Degenhart.       

Tickets for Christmastime Gospelfest are $15 in advance or $18 at the door for adults, $7 for children aged 5 to 12. Children 4 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the desk at Five Points Washington, at Hoerr’s Berean Bookstores, Calvary Baptist Church in Normal and by visiting www.gospelfestradio.com, or by calling 472-0027.