It’s Super Bowl Week, and all roads are headed to New York, before crossing the bridge to return to New Jersey.  That’s where the Super Bowl takes place this year.

But before the big game gets started, it’s the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration that kicks off tonight.  It hasn’t always been a part of the weekend long list of festivities or even one of the NFL’s sanctioned events, but thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of Melanie Few-Harrison, that has all changed.

“For four years, they told us ‘no,'” said Few-Harrison, the founder of what has now been a league concert for more than a decade.  However that has all changed and tonight the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration is set to mark its 15th year at Madison Square Garden.

What makes the concert even more special is that Few-Harrison and her concert is now allowed to use the Super Bowl name. Another is VH1’s Super Bowl Blitz concert series, which comes to Montclair on Saturday.

But the distinction between those two shows is that with the gospel concert, NFL players get in on the action. Since 2008 an NFL Players’ Choir has performed during the concert. Football players were the impetus for the first Super Bowl Gospel Celebration in 1999, at Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami.

Headlining the concert will be Patti LaBelle. She wasn’t present for the press conference, but another act, Mary Mary — sisters Erica and Tina Campbell — talked about their role in the show. 

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