Harmony of Spirit in Rowan

Terri and Annie will take the stage once again! (Photo: Terri Avery)
Amanda Rink, Editor
Gospel Fest to Continue at the United Church of Rowan on Sunday, November 12th at 1:30 p.m.

In the small town of Rowan, a special tradition has emerged. The Rowan Gospel Fest can be traced back to the late 1960s. This celebration of spiritual expression is set to continue. 

Louie Aiken is said to be the originator of this event, according to Terri Avery. Aitken was accompanied by his son’s banjo in the early days and then added Annie Avery’s guitar to create the Aiken Hearts. The first performance of the Aiken Hearts evolved into a cherished local event.

Originally the Gospel Fest was held in the Rowan school gymnasium but the festival found its new home in the United Church of Rowan. This offers accessibility through the handicap elevator. This event space also hosts the fundraising soup supper for the Rowan Historical Society following the performance. 


The Gospel Fest timing transitioned from October, originally chosen to coincide with Country Music Month, to November, accommodating the needs of the farming community and ensuring broader participation. Throughout the years, the festival has seen a dynamic range of artists.

This year's lineup promises a special treat, featuring seasoned musicians, including Don Wrolson from Hampton, Rick and Jenny Manscheim from Fort Madison, Charley Deam from Anamosa, Dale Boggess, Becky Gors, and Devin Lynch from Waverly, KWMT disc jockey Dale Eichor from Fort Dodge. Gospel Fest original Annie Avery and event coordinator Terri Avery will play as well. Their performances will span the soundscape of gospel music, filling the sanctuary with spirit.

Terri Avery extends thanks to the Rowan Historical Society for its role in sponsoring the event. The meal to take place afterward, to be prepared by volunteers, serves as an example of the sense of community Gospel Fest brings about within this tight-knit community.

An open invitation is extended, inviting all to experience soul-stirring experience. The show starts at 1:30 p.m. after the 10:00 a.m. service at the United Church of Rowan on Sunday, November 12. Depending on crowd engagement, the show is expected to last about 2 hours. For more information, or to join in the festivities, contact Terri Avery or the Rowan Historical Society.

Whether a resident or a visitor, the Rowan Gospel Fest promises to be an uplifting experience that sticks long after the final note resonates in the sanctuary.



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