To get a chance to perform before some of today’s most influential personalities in gospel music would be a dream come true for most any gospel performer. Now imagine being just 11 years old. That is exactly what one very young Sampson County gospel group is doing this week.
The Precious Jewels, who are familiar to many in their area, are attending and competing today at the National Quartet Conference in Louisville, Ky. It is a big event for the singing group and the your girls are excited to have the opportunity to spread God’s message in song wherever they go.
The Precious Jewels consists of four young ladies who all attend Baptist Chapel and Midway Middle School, currently in the sixth grade. Logan Baggett, the daughter of Lisa and Neil Baggett; Taylor Brown, the daughter of Sara and Scott Brown; Brittany Knowles, daughter of Lisa and Russell Knowles; and Leah Williams, daughter of Carol and Clint Williams, comprise the singing group. Departing at various times from Tuesday to Wednesday, the young ladies and their mothers, along with a total of 30 people, have traveled to Kentucky to witness and support the Precious Jewels.
Brown was first to respond to how she felt about attending and performing at the national convention. “I am very excited. I get to do one of the things I like to do best — sing,” stated they young lady, exuberance rising in her voice.
Williams shared that she felt it would be fun. “I am looking forward to it. It is going to be fun. I love to sing for the Lord and to spread the word,” expressed the young harmonizer. Baggett agreed. “I feel the same … excited and looking forward to having a good time. It will be a chance to learn more about music and more about Jesus and how we can help others through our music,” asserted the Precious Jewel. Knowles shared that she was hoping to get to swim in the pool and was looking forward to singing, too.
Sara Brown stated that the Precious Jewels would be singing on Friday. “We were invited to attend the conference. We are aware that there are numerous groups that will be here and many much more experienced and talented than our girls. But we felt it was a great opportunity and we came to share our message. If we receive more, then it will be to God’s glory and because of him,” asserted Sara Brown. The Precious Jewels will be singing “Love Is the Key.”
The four girls have been performing together four years. They grew up together and have gone to school together and even live close to one another. The one thing that brought them together, however, was that they all attend Baptist Chapel Church.
“I was leading the children’s choir. And that is where the girls started singing together,” explained Brown’s mother. After the group started to get serious about their music, they started going to Sybil Godwin to learn to sing harmony.
Godwin, who is also in Kentucky with the group, shared that working with these girls has been a blessing. “I really enjoy working with these young girls. They are a blessing to me. They started singing when they were 7 and now they are 11. I teach them to sing harmony. They are young to sing harmony but they have worked hard and learned well. They still have a lot more to learn. Music is the love of my life,” explained the voice teacher.
Godwin is not new to the convention competition. In the 60s, she took her two sons and a niece and nephew to the contest and won the youth trophy. “We toured all over the country. I am glad to be returning. Life has gone full circle for me,” stated Godwin.
The Precious Jewels will be competing in what is called the Regional Artist Showcase. These showcases, which are free and open to the public, feature state of the art production elements such as stage lighting and big screens. Several artists perform each day on Monday through Friday of the NQC. On each of these days, two artists are chosen as the two winners for that day, and these two winners perform on the main stage during the evening concert. These performances will occur within the interior of the main stage lineup, giving these artists a one-of-a-kind opportunity. In addition to the two winners each day, two additional artists are be chosen that day to perform again on Saturday.
“Mrs. Sybil is a gift to us, and she says that they are a gift to her,” stated Sara Brown.
If the Precious Jewels make it to the Saturday Regional Artist Showcase, they will perform in front of a panel of industry professional judges. After each performance, these artists will be critiqued by this panel in front of the live audience. This panel will choose the two best overall performers from the 20 from the week’s competitions, and these two artists will once again perform on Saturday evening on the NQC main stage. Of these two artists, the judges will also choose the best overall performance, and this artist will be recognized that evening as the best of the week. In addition to this recognition, Chapel Valley Music Group will offer a prize package of a recording contract and the NQC will offer this artist a spot on the weekend Featured Artist Showcases the following year. This opportunity is truly unique and could advance the career of the overall winner in a major way.
“We have been blessed by all the people that we do not even know that have helped us to make this trip. All we ask is their prayers so we can continue our ministry. What happens is in God’s hands,” asserted Sara Brown.
The young ladies all expressed they appreciation toGodwin and especially to their families in particular, their brothers and sisters for giving up so much and making sacrifices for them to continue their ministry.