BRANSON, Mo. – Industry leaders, artists, and fans are all glowing this week after the success of the Inaugural Branson Gospel Music Convention. The event took place last week in Branson, Missouri from July 14-17, 2009.
Artists from all over the country gathered last week for a week of fellowship, fun, and more importantly, to lift up the name of the Lord.
Highlights of the event included four daytime concerts that were free to the public and featured an array of artists from the legendary Chuck Wagon Gang and Blackwood Quartet to nationally-known Beyond the Ashes and The Parnells to up-and-coming artists such as Jake Holder, New Direction, Taj Rohr, and Red Roots.
Evening concerts featured the same variety of artists and included sets by Kenny Bishop, Young Harmony, 2nd Generation, Shannon Bunch, Crusaders Quartet, The Cerces, The Stamps, Florida Boys, Sunday Edition, CS&K, Homesteaders, McMillan & Life, Gospel River Boys, The Ladd Family, and many more.
Eric Hinson’s Hinson Revival (with Rod Burton and Jay Stone Singers’ Sharona Carter) brought the crowd to its feet, as did the Honduras-based Samaritan Revival, who sings traditional gospel songs in Spanish. Other notable performances were given by the full band Original Gospel Sounds and The English Family, who sang selections written by 15-year-old Jacob English.
The event began and ended with group numbers that involved all artists and even some of their families. Tuesday night kicked off with “Hallelujah Meetin’” and Friday night ended with “I’ll See You in the Rapture.”
HIS Choice Music sponsored a talent search on Wednesday morning, and during Friday night’s concert, announced the winners: 1st Place, CrossPoint Quartet, 2nd Place, Jericho, and 3rd Place, Darryl Marshall.
The Diamond Awards were also part of the evening events, taking place on Thursday and including appearances by Lou Hildreth, Dino, Chris Hester, and Kirk Talley.
Southern Gospel singer Rod Burton and his wife Kelly, who formed YMR Music Productions for the purpose of planning and hosting the event, feel it was a success. “We could not be happier with the turnout for our first year,” Rod said. “We had a good crowd, the events went mostly smooth, and most importantly, we have heard reports from audience members and artists that lives were changed and ministries revived. We kept hearing from artists about the spirit of ministry and fellowship during the convention, and we believe that was God’s encouragement to us to keep it going.”
Kelly added, “This convention was a tangible result of the coming together of people of like-minded faith. There was no competition there. I saw exhibitors, ticket holders, and members of the media spontaneously praying together. I saw a veteran guitar player in the food court playing music with a young lady just starting. I saw nationally established artists with nothing to gain running around backstage, ushering, even selling tickets. We’ve heard reports of a custodian at the Hilton giving his life back to Christ. We heard from artists who said they were burned out and feel they are now revived. All these responses are an answer to prayer!”
Plans are already underway for the 2nd Annual Branson Gospel Music Convention. The event will begin on Monday, June 28, 2010 and run through Friday, July 2, 2010. Registration is open to Southern gospel ministries and Christian organizations, and ticket sales are set to begin in September via the official website, www.bransongmc.com