Friday, October 4

6:00 pm Community Dinner
7:00 pm Choral Rehearsal

Saturday, October 5

9:00 am Choral Rehearsal
4:00 pm Celebratory Concert (free and open to the public)

All activities will take place at SecondFirst Church

318 N. Church St. Rockford, IL 61101
815-963-8431 |

What is JoyFest?

JoyFest is an event for directors and singers in which gospel, spirituals and traditional music will be used as a vehicle for bridging cultures, communities, and approaches to meaningful music making. Emmy-nominated musician/conductor Dr. J. Donald Dumpson comes to Rockford to create a memorable experience for singers and directors alike. Dr. Dumpson will share his successful work in creating new communities through choral music, lead choral singers in rehearsal through some of his favorite works, and conduct an afternoon concert of celebration and community.

The festival will begin with a community meal at 6pm on Friday, October 4th. Choral singers will be invited to register to sing at 7pm on Friday, October 4th or 9am on Saturday, October 5th, for rehearsals led by Dr. Dumpson. The event will conclude with a 4pm celebratory concert.

Who Can Participate?

  • Any choir or individual, high school age and above, that is comfortable and interested in learning gospel, spiritual, traditional and other music from both notated and non-notated traditions.
  • Directors are encouraged to bring mixed choirs that are balanced in parts, but all choirs are welcome.

Repertoire and Performance Attire

No purchase or advance rehearsal of music will be necessary. The event focuses on style, expression, technique, and building community. We respectfully ask that ‘Sunday wear’ clothing be used for this event’s performance attire.

Cost: Suggested donation $25/person

  • Suggested donation for participation: $10
  • Suggested donation for Friday dinner: $10
  • Suggested donation for Saturday lunch: $5

Registration forms and donations are due September 15.

Hosted by SecondFirst Church with help from Illinois ACDA


J. Donald Dumpson, Ph.D. has committed his professional life to ministry and education. He is president of Diverse Arts Solutions, Minister of the Arts at Arch Street Presbyterian Church; founding conductor of the Westminster Choir College Jubilee Singers; founding conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Community Chorus and founder and artistic director of the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale, Inc.

He continues to present clinics and workshops through the lens of social justice and sociocultural awareness by engaging culturally responsive arts presentations borne of the African Diaspora to America and of Europe.