An annual one-day celebration has blossomed in its 11th year to include three days of entertainment, networking, fellowship — and a lot of singing.
The 11th anniversary celebration of Michael Boykin & The Mighty Voices, a group led by award-winning Clinton native Boykin, has expanded this year on the strength of several sponsorships, including main sponsor Nissan of Clinton. Festivities will start with a Friday banquet, workshops and talent showcases on Saturday and a Sunday concert.
The three-day event will bring many Gospel music groups and solo talents, as well as a workshop that will allow aspiring artists to meet music industry executives and current artists, as well as get their foot in the door.
“We’ve taken this to another level in the community. With the support of everybody, we’ve been able to expand and make this much bigger,” Boykin attested, thanking close to a dozen sponsors and many others who have given, and will continue to offer, their time and resources for the festivities.
“People are excited we are doing this in the Clinton area,” he noted of the feedback.
The festivities will kick off on Friday night (tonight), April 29, at the Black & White Affair with The Prince of Gospel Show at the Sampson Agri-Exposition Center. The banquet begins at 7 p.m. The message will be delivered by Pastor H.E. Dixon and Gospel comedian Les Long will perform. The $25 cost includes dinner.
Boykin said that banquet is simply to get everyone together in fellowship as the festivities move into the weekend.
Deemed the Quartet Gospel Weekend Extravaganza, all of Saturday’s activities will be held at First Baptist Church, 900 College St.
First, the Prince of Gospel Show and Michael Boykin and the Mighty Voices will present a Quartet Gospel Workshop, where participants will have the chance to speak with experts in the music industry, including Darrell Luster, Zadella “Mama” Curtis, Juan Langford, Sheila Bell, Mark Dangerfield & Michael Boykin and Tomeka “LadyBlue” Blue.
That will extend from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the church. The cost for the workshop is $10.
“We wanted to bring in some educational pieces to give back to the community and give people these chances in their own community,” Boykin explained. “We have a lot of people who have dreams of making it in the music industry, they just don’t know how. Bringing music executives to Clinton is really big.”
A free artist showcase event will follow at 5 p.m. at the church.
Local artists to perform will include The Chosen Ones of Henderson, Charles Underwood, Little Ann & The Redeemer, The Robertson Boyz, Nu Direction of Dillon, S.C., PC & Perfect Praise and The Golden Voices of Fayetteville Boyz.
On Sunday, May 1, the doors will open at 3 p.m. at the Sampson Agri-Exposition Center for the big event — the annual concert, which will start at 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $15. They are $20 at the door.
Among the many artists that will perform, Michael Boykin & The Mighty Voices will be joined by Evelyn Turrentine-Agee, Darrell McFadden, Doc McKenzie, Lamanel Boykin and Ruby Glenn & Da GirlZ. Also at the celebration will be Rahmeka Cox, Miss Greater Sampson County, Brothers in Christ, MLK Choir and Maurice McZeke & MDK.
Pastor Lynn Blackburn of Clinton Family Worship Center will deliver the message. A drawing will be held during the day for the chance to win a 2016 Nissan Altima.
Tomeka Blue, who serves as the program director of The Prince of Gospel Show on WCLN as well as a business consultant to Boykin, said the event shows how community partnerships can transform an event into something bigger and better.
“The concert Sunday is a regular event, but this is our first year doing the (Black & White) banquet and the workshop,” said Blue. “This is the biggest this event has ever been. A majority of that is due to Donnie Lamm and Nissan’s sponsorship. Those kind of community partnerships are so important.”
Boykin wants to keep that momentum going and said he fully plans to have the annual event on at least the same scale going forward.
“This is going to be an every-year event,” he said.
Blue agreed with Boykin that it is a big deal for Clinton to host prominent members of the music industry, both in front of the mic and behind the scenes.
“We just want to let some people know what is going on in their backyard,” said Blue. “We’re excited. Some think the music industry is so far away. It’s right here and we’re trying to show that.”
Boykin said this weekend is another outlet for him to share his love for music with the rest of the community, while benefiting his hometown.
“I love Clinton. I was born and raised here. I don’t play football or baseball, but God blessed me with that musical component,” said Boykin, whose hope is that artists and executives will continue to lend their services as the event grows. “They will look forward to coming to the beautiful city of Clinton to see what God has blessed us with.”
For tickets or more information, call Perry Melvin at 910-590-4378, Lil Ann at 910-590-1887 or Tomeka Blue at 910-289-5457.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.