The roots of Portland Community College's "Gospel Explosion" Program first began as a part of PCC's Black History Month celebration. More than 20 years ago, PCC's Black History Month committee came up with an idea to honor North and Northeast Portland's Black roots by hosting a gospel program on campus — and the "Gospel Explosion" was born.
From the beginning, the annual concert was a popular success. The program was held at Cascade Campus in the now nonexistent Cascade Hall for its first two years. Then, its name was changed to Gospel Extravaganza and moved to the local church community. This year, the Gospel Extravaganza returns to PCC Cascade. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, in the Moriarty Arts Building Auditorium, 705 N. Killingsworth St.
The theme of this year's event is "35 Years of Diversity: Weaving an American Tapestry." The event is free and open to the public.
Portland's rich reservoir of musical talent will be tapped for the concert, which features more than 10 gospel choirs. The event benefits the Eddie Barnett Foundation, which will fund defibrillators for local high schools. For information, call 503-943-2224, or visit www.pcc.edu/gospel.