National and local artists will help locals praise God and seize the opportunity to escape the worries of COVID-19 on June 4 during the Gospel Blast sponsored by Trinity Temple Baptist Church .
The program begins at 6 p.m. at the Vicksburg Auditorium. The theme of the event is “In His Presence”. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com or from Fred Davenport at Clay’s Barbershop and Unique Sisters Boutique.
“This is our second event,” said Loran Archer, one of the program’s organizers. “Our first was in 2019 but we couldn’t have it in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID-19. We had Kierra Sheard in 2019.”
This year’s star performer is BET’s “Sunday Best” winner Melvin Crispell III, but Archer said the program will also spotlight “some wonderful songbirds.”
The 10-member Trinity Temple Ensemble will open the program and local artists Jan Banks, Charlotte Price, Lady Julie Hammitte and Yashica Studdeth will also perform.
“Jan and Charlotte are from Vicksburg and Lady Hammitte is from Fayette,” Archer said. “I like to call them ‘Songbirds of the South’ and we want the opportunity to showcase our local talent.”
Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Crispell is the Season 9 winner of BET’s “Sunday Best,” a gospel music contest that showcases new gospel artists and connects them with record labels. He released his first album, “I’ve got a Testimony” in 2020.
Archer said the Gospel Blast was organized because “we want to create an experience of praise and worship in the river town that is outside the church walls.
“We believe our souls and spirits need to be lifted, especially at this time, as we have been suffering from COVID fatigue for over two years,” she said. “We want to create an outlet where people can come and spread and enjoy the song and praise God for bringing us this far.”
Archer said the church still has a spiritual foundation for people’s souls “so we wanted to bring the foundation outside the walls of the church as an outing for families, for groups to come to the auditorium of the city from the city and vicinity – to provide another avenue and outlet for worship.
The first explosion featuring Sheard, she said, drew 600 people.
“People had a wonderful experience; it was casual dress – come as you are,” she said. “This one will be the same way.”
Archer said organizers have been working on the June show since the 2019 show ended.
“We canceled in 2020 and canceled in 2021,” she said. “We decided to continue for 2022 because the (COVID) numbers are better. COVID is not gone but certainly diminished enough that we have to learn to exist with COVID. People are more comfortable going out, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity.
“People can come and wear a mask or do whatever they want. We want them to come out and have a wonderful experience with us.