The recent Gospel Heritage Foundation convention was held at the Body of Christ Church in Atlanta, GA, where musicians from all over the country came to learn from some of the most influential speakers, industry professionals, and musicians in Gospel music. In addition to daily classes, there were nightly performances featuring such artists as Dr. Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett and Israel Houghton.
“Part of our mission is to celebrate the accomplishments of leaders and pioneers in Gospel music,” says Dr. Teresa Hairston, chair of the GHF board. “We also want to educate and inspire aspiring Gospel performers, so we offer seminars and new artist showcases.”
For the third year in a row, Roland sponsored the unsigned artist showcases and offered training on music technology including V-Drums, Fantom and VK-8 keyboards, CD-2e and R-09 recorders, and the VP-550 Vocal Designer. “At one point, a few people came to our exhibit and began singing and playing together on keyboards, drums, bass and the VP-550,” relates Roland’s Tony Allen. “More and more people started joining in and it turned into a complete Gospel band and choir concert right there – it was amazing!”
Through the showcases offered at the GHF conference, several youth have received scholarship funds encouraging them to further their music education. In the last five years, GHF has given over $50,000 in scholarships. To support this endeavor, Roland provided several keyboards for the artists to use during their performances and the prizes of a CD-2e CD Recorder and a Fantom-X6 to the winners of the unsigned artist showcases.
The winner of the CD-2e was Eugene C. Brown, currently serving as an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort McPherson and Pastor of Music at the Full Gospel Baptist Church in Decatur, GA. He performed an original song entitled “Hero” which impressed the panel of judges comprised of Gospel music industry professionals. “It’s been a long journey but I’m very encouraged by the recognition of the judges. This means a lot to me and the CD-2e will be extremely helpful as I continue to pursue my singing and composing.”
Once Eugene learned that the CD-2e would enable him to record vocals over his instrumental track and burn the mix to a mastered CD, he was elated. “This is exactly what I need right now,” Eugene beamed. “I’m just getting started in my musical career and now I can get my vocals recorded onto my tracks without having to go back into the studio.” Eugene is currently developing a website to showcase his music, so look for his page on myspace.com in the coming weeks. In the meantime, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
On the final day of the conference, the artist showcases featured groups who competed for the grand prize - a Fantom-X6. The winners were an amazing Gospel choir/dance troupe from Panama City, FL, called the New Gulf Coast Choir. They were the crowd favorite and the judges’ as well. Michael Grady is the leader of the group numbering 30+ whose ages range from early to late teens. “There have been a lot of obstacles along the way, and just getting all these kids here to the conference was a miracle,” beamed Michael. “You can’t imagine what this means to us and we’re so grateful. It just goes to show what faith can do.” For more info go to www.newgulfcoastchoir.org.
For more information on upcoming worship conferences, check out the EVENTS section of the Roland Worship Connection newsletter.