The KAy and Doug Ivester endowed Program Series

The Brenau Gospel Experience

March 29-30, 2019

Brenau University
Gainesville, Georgia

Performances by

Karen Peck and New River

2018 GMA Hall of Fame inductee,
2015 Southern Gospel album of the year

Jeff & Sheri Easter

Six-time Dove Award winner

Madison and Shannon Easter

Brenau alumna and three-time
Absolutely Gospel’s Musician of the Year

Ty Scott King

Billboard Music artist

Arabia Jones

Brenau student and winner of the
2018 Brenau Gospel Experience soloist competition

the Brenau Gospel Choir

with director Portia Burns


Friday, March 29:

3-5 p.m. Panel on Sense of Story: Healing with Music

Hosch Theatre, Burd Center for the Performing Arts
Brenau Chair of the Department of Music Barbara Steinhaus will lead a panel with Paul Lennard, director of the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Program at Emory University; Sandra Brim, associate professor of English at Brenau University; Audrey Milo-Turner, retired associate professor of education and counseling at Clemson University; and Amy Jacques, adjunct instructor of dance and psychology at Brenau University. The panel will begin with a performance by Brenau’s Spectrum Winds: New Music Ensemble.

7 p.m. Brenau Gospel Experience I

Pearce Auditorium
The event will be emceed by Brenau admissions director and Nathan Goss and featuring 2018 GMA Hall of Fame inductee Karen Peck and New River, the Brenau Gospel Choir and Brenau music education student Arabia Jones, winner of the 2018 Brenau Gospel Experience student competition. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 30:

3-5 p.m. Sense of Story: Interactive Songwriting Workshop

Bobbit Rehearsal Hall, Burd Center for the Performing Arts
Participants should bring songs to workshop with Madison and Shannon Easter. Get inspired with conversation about creativity and expression. A piano will be provided, other instruments are invited. Free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

7 p.m. Gospel Experience II

Pearce Auditorium
The second evening performance will again be emceed by Brenau admissions director Nathan Goss and will feature six-time Dove Award Winners Jeff and Sheri Easter along with Madison and Shannon Easter, Ty Scott King, the Brenau Gospel Choir and Arabia Jones. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.


Karen Peck and New River

Brenau alumna, Gainesville, Georgia-native and Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Karen Peck Gooch is known in the gospel music world for her unmistakable voice. With her popular group New River, Karen has earned five Grammy Award nominations and six Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association. Karen Peck & New River is a complete family affair, including her husband Rickey, sister Susan, Rickey’s daughter, Kari, their son, Matthew, and newest addition Grant Gibson. Learn more at their website.

Jeff & Sheri Easter

Jeff Easter and his wife Sheri Easter, a Brenau alumna, are both members of acclaimed musical families. Jeff’s father is one of the Easter Brothers and Sheri’s mother is a member of The Lewis Family. Jeff was introduced to Sheri in August 1984, and the two were married 10 months later. They traveled and performed as part of The Lewis Family for several years, until striking out on their own in 1988. They are winners of six Dove Awards, have also received two career Grammy nominations, and Sheri has been named the Singing News Favorite Alto eleven times and the Singing News Female Vocalist four times. Learn more at their website.

Madison and Shannon Easter

Husband and wife singer-songwriter duo, Madison Easter and Brenau alumna Shannon Easter met as high school students in 2004, when they were performing music for a church youth rally. They were married in 2010 and soon thereafter began writing together. The couple released their first acoustic EP, Dreams, in March of 2013 and the follow-up Christmas EP, Under The Mistletoe, in November of 2013. Madison and Shannon are currently touring and writing their first full-length album. Learn more at their website.

Ty Scott King

Los Angeles-based Ty Scott King is a versatile, award-winning artist who strikes a balance between poetry and hip hop in her music. Also a published author and accomplished speaker, she has performed on major television networks such as BET and TV One, in front of international audiences and, most notably, at the United States Pentagon. Learn more at her website.



The workshops and performances are all free, but seating is limited at all events. You must have tickets to guarantee admission. The button below will open a popup window to get your tickets. Tickets are also available at


John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts

429 Academy St NE,
Gainesville, GA 30501

Pearce Auditorium

202 Boulevard NE,
Gainesville, GA 30501



As a guest at Brenau University, any legal space, including those that say “Brenau Reserved,” are available within walking distance of Pearce Auditorium and the John S. Burd Center for Performing Arts.


  • Please arrive 15-30 minutes before the scheduled events. Event times are subject to change.
  • Brenau University assumes no responsibility and holder expressly assumes all risk for accident, lost or stolen personal property and personal injury.
  • Public and concealed weapons are expressly prohibited on the Brenau University campus.
  • No food or beverages are allowed in the theaters.
  • Holder grants Brenau University the irrevocable permission to use his or her image, likeness, voice or sound recordings In any media whatsoever and without compensation.
  • Duplication of ticket is strictly prohibited.
  • Use of ticket constitutes acceptance of these terms.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite. If you have any please email or call 770-297-5956.

Brenau University Gospel Choir Director Portia Burns, WC '12, leads the mass choir performance in Brenau's Pearce Auditorium on Nov. 5, 2017. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)