Tickets & Events

Gospel Night

Boston Pops

Symphony Hall - Boston, MA View Map

This year’s annual Gospel Night will pay a special bit of respect to the eternal Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Join the Boston Pops and Boston Pops Gospel Choir as they once again raise the roof of Symphony Hall with this annual concert that will have you singing along and dancing for joy.

Featured Performers

Charles Floyd, conductor
View biography in full page >

Born in Chicago, conductor, pianist, and composer Charles Floyd began studying piano at age four, gave his first solo recital at age nine, and by age twenty had been heard in solo recital, chamber music and concerto performances throughout the United States and Spain. His mentors include pianists Joseph Schwartz, the late Aube Tzerko, Howard Karp, Lee Luvisi, and Misha Dichter. As a conductor, he has been heard in concert with more than 500 orchestras since 1991, during which time his work at the podium caught the special attention of conductors James DePreist and Seiji Ozawa. His appearances include performances with the symphony orchestras of Detroit, Oregon, Saint Louis, Philadelphia, Buffalo, San Francisco, Chicago, San Francisco, and Baltimore. He has also appeared with the Scottish National Radio Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Aukland Symphony, Wellington Sinfonia (New Zealand), Honolulu Symphony, London Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony (Alberta, Canada), and the Holland Symfonia (Haarlem and Amsterdam, The Netherlands). During the 2003-04 season, he appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in four different programs, and In July 2004 made his Brooklyn Philharmonic debut at Carnegie Hall. A regular guest conductor of the Boston Pops for sixteen years, he leads the annual "Gospel Night at Pops" at Symphony Hall, a program that features orchestral classics as well as a 120-voice gospel chorus. His work in the 1996 season included a PBS telecast of Evening at Popsfeaturing Patti LaBelle and Edwin Hawkins, and critically acclaimed performances as pianist of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue under Keith Lockhart. Mr. Floyd's programs have featured such artists as Grace Bumbry, Harolyn Blackwell, Sting, Elton John, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Matt Lauer, The Paratore Brothers, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday, Daryl Coley, Kirk Franklin, Doc Severinsen, Sergio Mendes, Chris Botti, Stevie Wonder, Wynona Judd, William Warfield, and Edwin Hawkins. In 1998 he was music director for the nationally broadcast PBS holiday special, A Cathedral Christmas, with Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. His eleven-year partnership with singer Natalie Cole included such projects as the multiple Grammy Award-winning tribute to Nat King Cole entitledUnforgettable, With Love, the Emmy Award-winning PBS "Great Performances" concert video of the same title, as well as the Grammy-winning releases Take a Look and Stardust. Charles Floyd's compositions range from chamber music to large orchestral and vocal works. A tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, One Man's Dream for narrator and orchestra, was commissioned and premiered by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in 2001. His Four Spiritualsfor soprano and orchestra was premiered at Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in 1995, and his oratorio Hosanna for gospel chorus and orchestra premiered here in 2000. In July 2005 he conducted Howard Shore's The Lord Of The Rings Symphony at the request of the Oscar-winning film composer. In January 2009 he was the conductor for "We Are One," the pre-inaugural celebration for President Barack Obama at the Lincoln Memorial.

Charles Floyd, conductor Dottie Peoples
View biography in full page >

Few people possess a voice that can usher people into the presence of God with more joy and immediacy than Dottie Peoples. Blessed with a soulful, passionate voice and an unbridled love for the Lord and her fellow man, Peoples is an electrifying presence on stage that turns any concert into an all out revival. Her gifts for teaching, singing and summoning the Holy Spirit collide powerfully on her new CD, I GOT THIS – LIVE!

Filled with the kind of energetic performances and potent lyrical messages that Peoples has become known for, I GOT THIS – LIVE! is an uplifting collection from one of gospel music’s most anointed artists. Recorded live at Siloam Church International in Atlanta, the project percolates with the intensity that Peoples brings to the stage when she sings. It includes such foot stomping numbers as the title track alongside such soul-stirring ballads as “Let Not,” which showcases the depth and range that has earned Peoples the title, the “Songbird of the South.” Released on her own DP Muzik Group, the label’s sophomore project also features her longtime friend Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith Choir from Memphis, Tenn.

In penning the title track, Peoples drew on her own experience. “Like everybody else we’re not excluded from hard times,” Peoples says. “I sat here one day and said, ‘Now Lord, what are we going to do?’ And it’s like the spirit said, ‘I’ve got this! Don’t worry. I’ve got this’ and it started ringing in my spirit. I wrote the song and went to the musicians. My musicians always put their little edge on a song. They just listened to my little melody and pumped it up. I love my band!”

The song has quickly become a focal point of Peoples’ live show and the encouraging message is resonating with audiences all over the country. “Everybody can relate to it,” Peoples says with a smile.  “I tell them how I was down and out, really going through my own pity party and didn’t know what to do. I felt like giving up and throwing in the towel when the going got tough, but God turned around and said, ‘Child don’t you know, I got this’ and I got peace. Everybody can relate to it.”

Peoples has a gift for creating thought-provoking, life-affirming music that resonates deeply with audiences throughout the world. It’s a calling she discovered early in life. One of 10 children, Peoples grew up in Ohio, but spent summers in Alabama with her grandmother who everyone lovingly referred to as Big Mama. She encouraged her young granddaughter’s dream of growing up to sing like Mahalia Jackson. “I did my first little ‘ole song around eight or nine years old,” Peoples recalls. “I remember singing and running out of the church. I got scared because everybody was shouting.”

Young Dottie continued to sing throughout high school and her distinctive voice always garnered attention. After seeing her perform in Dayton, Ohio, the legendary Dorothy Norwood enlisted Dottie to join her on the road. “She asked my mom if I could go and momma said yes,” Peoples remembers. “Dorothy had a song called ‘Gotta Be Some Rain In Your Life,’ and that was a hot song for her. The Rolling Stones’ lead singer fell in love with that song and asked Dorothy to travel with them and open up the tour. That’s where I also met Stevie Wonder. He was on the tour with the Rolling Stones.”

After touring with Norwood and the Rolling Stones, Peoples returned to Ohio. She continued singing and developed quite a reputation as a jazz vocalist. “I sang jazz all the way up until I moved to Atlanta in ’79,” she says. “I joined Salem Baptist Church and one of the ladies in the choir, told the minister of music, ‘This girl can sing!’ He asked if I’d like to try a song. The first solo I did was called ‘If You Move Yourself.’ I sang that song that Sunday morning and people were shouting. It changed my whole life because I stood there and realized that I was blessing people. Burdens were being lifted. I knew I didn’t want to sing jazz anymore. I just want to sing for the Lord. I got back to my roots and I’ve been singing gospel ever since.”

In addition to singing, Peoples is also an astute businesswoman. She served as general manager of Church Door Records and also launched her own radio show. After 14 years with Church Door, Peoples signed with AIR Records and took her career to another level, earning her first Stellar Award nomination.  Her 1994 release on AIR, “On Time God,” was a pivotal release that rocketed to No. 1 on the charts and earned her four Stellar Awards and a nomination for Soul Train’s Lady of Soul Award.  Peoples has continued to garner more than 50 industry accolades, including the 2010 Stellar for Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year.

On I GOT THIS – LIVE! Peoples delivers a thoroughly satisfying collection that includes such worshipful numbers as “So Let Us Praise the Lord” and “Manifest Your Glory” alongside the retro-flavored “Back to the Old Church” which features guest vocals by Faye Butler and Billy Rivers. She also includes the poignant “It’s Not Goodbye, but See You Later,” a gorgeous ballad Dottie wrote that is frequently performed at homegoing celebrations. In another of the album’s many highlights, Peoples delivers a smooth, soulful rendition of the George Benson classic “Everything Must Change.”

 “We did just a little bit of every side of Dottie,” Peoples says of her new album. “I opened up with praise and worship and then I showed my jazz side and I did a George Benson tune. I always do an a cappella song, and the one on this CD is called, ‘No Time To Waste.’ I’m even doing a little preaching this time.”

Peoples is on a mission to reach people for Christ and that interaction with listeners is a precious connection to her. “What makes me love what I do more than anything is people,” she says. “So many folks come up to me, some of them crying, some of them just hugging me, some of them so excited,” she says. “Just to know that you’ve touched their lives and blessed them like that - it’s a feeling that you never ever get over.”

Dottie Peoples has always had a love for people and a passion for sharing the gospel through music, and when she takes the stage she has a joy that is absolutely contagious. You can’t help but feel that God himself is smiling when Dottie sings.

Dottie Peoples