Patti LaBelle performs with the Howard Gospel Choir during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, in 2021, in Washington. She is one of the performers for the Super Bowl Soulful Celebration taking place in February in Arizona. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The 24th annual Super Bowl Soulful Celebration -- the NFL's annual gospel concert -- announced its performers Friday. Legendary singer Patti LaBelle is back along with gospel singer Israel Houghton and the NFL Player's Choir.
The annual concert, formerly the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, takes place prior to Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 8 at the Mesa Center in Mesa, Ariz. This year's Super Bowl is being played on Feb. 12 at the State Farm Arena in Glendale, Ariz.
Rihanna is the Super Bowl halftime performer and country star Chris Stapleton will perform the national anthem.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts will receive the Faith in Action award at the Celebration for his service and commitment to the community in Philadelphia and in his native Texas.
This season, Hurts visited a Philadelphia high school impacted by the fatal shooting of one of its students and visited the staff at Penn Medicine's trauma intensive care unit to thank them for their work. Previous honorees include Super Bowl-winning coach turned broadcaster Tony Dungy, Deion Sanders and Russell Wilson.
This year's theme is "Unstoppable" and will highlight the faith, service and philanthropy of the NFL and its players through music and comedy. The event was conceived by entrepreneur Melanie Few, the only woman and person of color with an NFL-sanctioned event.
Fifteen years ago, Few also helped develop the NFL Player's Choir, a group of NFL players who showcase their faith through music. They made their debut in 2008 at the ninth annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration. In 2022, they were contestants on the reality competition show America's Got Talent.
The choir is made up of retired and active NFL players, including choir director Demarcus Williams, Tully Bunta-Cain, Michael Gaines, Bryant McKenzie, Isaiah McKenzie, Cameron Newton, Steve Pierce, Nick Roach, Bryan Scott, Willie Yarborough and Leonard Weaver.
Though they didn't go the distance, the choir performed two well-received songs: Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" and Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling," which was praised by Timberlake himself.