New Orleans, LA — Look across any Gospel Community Calendar and you are sure to find Concerts, Workshops and Conventions popping up across the country almost every week. Some are tailored made for the Church Family, Local Community and there are also attempts to create for an even larger audience.
For the Gospel Music Workshop of America, it has become a rich staple in the Gospel Community that now offers a wealth of information and a gathering point to reconnect, sing, showcase and minister gifts and talents from the Lord to the masses.
This year the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc. recently held its 48th Annual Convention along with the Gospel Announcer’s Guild holding its 45th Annual Session at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 26 through July 31, 2015.
This year’s convention offered something for everyone from classes, workshops, rehearsals, musicals, celebrations, showcases, Communion & Consecration Service, an Academic Library, Quartet Division, Gospel Announcers, Contemporary Adult Division, Small Children’s Session, Thurston G. Frazier Memorial Chorale Rehearsal, Robert Fryson Chorale Rehearsal, James Cleveland Chorus Rehearsal, Small Children’s Session, Women’s Council Meeting, Men’s Council Meeting, National Mass Choir Rehearsal, Youth Rehearsal and so much more.
The Daily Bread Worship Services were also a favorite for many with guests speakers Bishop Clarence Langston, Bishop Willie James Campbell, Dr. E. Dewey Smith, Pastor Marvin Sapp, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Bishop Noel Jones, Bishop Joseph Walker, Bishop Lester Love, Dr. Stephen J. Thurston, Rev. Clay Evans and Pastor Samuel R. Blake and Intercessory prayer with Bishop Julia Whitehurst Wade from 10am to 12noon.
Other services included the Come As You are Musical, Quartet Quest Opening Showcase, Evangelistic Service, Youth Nightly Musicals, the Good Ole Days Concert, the National Youth Presentation & Concert and the Live Recording Session.
The Gospel Announcers Guild (GAG) this year, rolled out a new look with an over hall of new officers and committee members. Following appointments by Bishop Albert Jamison, GMWA – Chairman of the Board of Directors, earlier this year the new National Gospel Announcers Guild (GAG) Committee now includes; Committee Leader, Dennis Cole, Assistant Committee Leader, Chris Squire, Finance & Registrar Administrator, Willie McClendon, Secretary, Judy R. Neal, and Committee Members; Tracey Artis, Sheilah Belle, Fran Kelley, Neily Dickerson, Ron Jones and Pastor Juandolyn Stokes.
Under their joint efforts, this newly formed NGAG “Committee” clearly utilized the gifts and skills of this dynamic and diverse leadership team. In addition to Committee Leader Dennis Cole and the officer’s non-stop administrative duties, other members delivered strong and dynamic industry presentations with invited panel guests and hand outs.
Assistant Leader Chris Squire designed a major industry Radio Panel with Willie Mae McIver, Lisa Collins, Adrian Warren, Samuel Blakes, Michael Adrian Davis, Alex Snipes and Melanie Pratt.
Promoter and Talent Coordinator Neily Dickerson created the first GAG CD Sampler, arranged a major showcase featuring Anthony Brown & Group Therapy and secured the new movie “Say Amen” for delegates to preview.
Artist manager Tracey Artis was responsible for a CD listening party and daily-sponsored continental breakfasts.
Finally, Marketing and Promotions Coordinator Sheilah Belle, “The Belle” designed one of the most popular and highly attended panels of the week on “Understanding Digital Marketing and Social Media from A – Z.” There was a tremendous need and clear interest in the panel focus, that it was continued the next day in an encore presentation. Presenting with The Belle was Bonita Bellamy.
Other sessions this year also included a Health & Wellness Presentation, Label Scope Presentations and a State of the Industry Panel.
Some of this year’s featured events included the Malaco & GAG Opening Showcase, with special guests the Mississippi Mass Choir, Ben Cone & Worship, Roy & Revelation, Sean Simmons, Perfection, the Edward Sisters, Gemstones and Judah Band, and co-hosted by Sheilah Belle, “The Belle” and Nathan Knox.
Monday night was also brought to life thanks to the creative production of Kenny Taylor. Once again he created a late night party that compared to no other. Sponsored by his own company Teemade Productions his special guests this year included the phenomenal Maurette Brown Clark, Bishop Andrew Ford & the Ford Memorial Choir, The Showers, Johnny B. Williams (and his young son who simply made this a stand out performance for the night), Jevon Brock, Kergyma, Angela “Missy” Billups, Joseph Robinson & Chosen Aggregation, Joe Douglas & S.O.P., Cerissa, Xavier O’Connor (who was simply flawless), Britney Johnson, Ernie Billups & the Tribe of Levi and Daphanne Poole. Also attending this year were Taylor’s mother and father. The evening was co-hosted by Sheilah Belle, “The Belle” and Bishop Ryan Warner.
The GAG also rolled out the Red Carpet for the Gospel Announcers Guild Sisterhood, under the leadership of Lydia Goodin, the Al “The Bishop” Hobbs Luncheon Salute, co-hosted by Pastor Henzy and Nicole Green, with a special performance by Ami Rushes, Trent Von Lee, Oscar Williams and Kathy Taylor, a special presentation by Vicki Mack & Claude Lataillade to Bishop Albert Jamison and expressions from Bishop Sam Williams, Lisa Collins, Telissa Stinson and Dennis Cole, special Christmas in July presentation and their annual distribution of Media bags.
Truly while there are still a few obvious growing pains and challenges within the organization, it is safe to say that things will only get better, as this new Committee pulls together with determination to deliver better programming and content for Gospel Announcers who continue to travel across the country to be apart of this convention every year.
About the GMWA
The GMWA, founded by the late Reverend James Cleveland, is the world’s premier independent gospel music convention.
In March 1996, Bishop Albert L. Jamison was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc. Bishop Jamison currently serves as Pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Tabernacle in his native Brooklyn, New York; is President and Founder of Pentecost at Any Cost Ministry; is Chairman of the Board of Governors, Perfecting Christian-Pentecostal Connection; is Bishop of Finance, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship and is on the Board of Directors, African-American Religious Connection.