(FOX 9) - As a source of hope and inspiration, .the influence of Black gospel music on American culture is widespread.
This weekend at North Central University in downtown Minneapolis, a local stage production will use "The Sound of Gospel" to take the audience on a journey.
Rev. William Pierce is the writer and producer behind "The Sound of Gospel" and FOX 9 spoke with Pierce and Jevetta Steele, its director, this week.
"When I think about gospel music I think about this avenue that we have right here, we're telling a story. Gospel music is a way to deliver a message," Pierce told FOX 9. His stage production explores the history of African American gospel music.
"I came up with it from the concept of growing up in Mississippi. Hearing the music, hearing the quartet, hearing the choirs," said Pierce.
Rooted in the Black church, his story spans generations.
"When you think about civil rights when you think about Jim crow, you think about slavery, and you think about our time today. Gospel music has always been a part of those times," said Pierce.
Through spirituals and dance, a skilled cast of performers embark on a journey from the shores of West Africa to the present.
"Through this music, we have overcome so many things," said Pierce.
Jevetta Steele, of the Minneapolis family gospel quartet "The Steeles" is directing the production. She says that the meaning of gospel is good news.
"We’re still going through difficult times, it’s just taken on different shapes so those songs are important today. And we have to be reflective, you have to remember where you came from to remember where you’re going," she said.
It's through the soulful sounds of gospel music that Rev. Pierce says he finds hope.
"In spite of what’s happening in our community, in our society… there’s always an opportunity to change people’s lives," said Pierce.
"The Sound of Gospel" will take place this weekend. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Colon Cancer Coalition.
Rev. Pierce lost his mom to the disease last year.
For more information on the event click here.