Triumph Church-East Campus was host to a double gospel celebration the evening of Tuesday, October 27, 2009. The facility that used to be the old Second Ebenezer church became party central for fans and supporters of homegrown favorites Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard and Byron Cage.

Deborah Smith Pollard and Byron Cage with contest winner
Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard with Byron Cage and FM98 contest winner

Dr. Deb, as she is affectionately called, has a long and varied resume of accomplishments and achievements, but she is most widely known as the melodious voice that blesses the airwaves on Sunday mornings from 6AM to 10AM on FM98 WJLB. The rest of the week, WJLB kicks out the R&B and Hip Hop jams, but come Sunday morning, Dr. Deb kicks out her own “Strong Inspirations” that appeal to both young and old. A packed house welcomed Dr. Deb and joined her in celebrating 15 years as host of Detroit’s #1-rated gospel show.

Winners from Dr. Deb’s Sunday morning show were also invited to a special VIP reception prior to the show. Dr. Deb’s mom and husband were also on hand to share her special night.

Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard with Byron Cage and winners
Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard with Byron Cage and FM98 contest winners at VIP reception

Deborah Smith Pollard with mother and husband
Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard with her mother and husband at VIP reception

Detroiters love to claim their own, and Byron Cage loves to lay claim to his Detroit roots and musical foundation from his years as choir director at Greater Grace Temple under the late Pastor David Ellis. Byron came home to Detroit to record his new CD and DVD “Faithful to Believe” on March 13, 2009, at the new facilities of Second Ebenezer church where Bishop Edgar Vann and First Lady Sheila Vann and a capacity crowd were in attendance. He came back to the “old Second Ebenezer” and new Triumph Church-East Campus to celebrate the release of his new CD and DVD on Verity Records (Release date Oct. 27, 2009)

In keeping with Dr. Deb’s spirit of excellence, the evening’s celebrations began on time with Stellar-Award nominated, God’s Little Soldiers, International, under the directions of Motor City Praise Records founder, James Render. The young men got the party started by ministering in song and scripture and the audience was on their feet.

God's Little Soldiers International
God’s Little Soldiers International

One of the things that Dr. Deb is known for is meeting her audience where they are and ministering to them in a language that they can relate to. She has embraced Gospel rap and FM98 WJLB listeners have responded in kind. Dr. Deb shared the ministry of gospel rap and hip hop throughout the evening as God’s Army, Kiwi, Mahogony Jones, and DJ Fingers rocked the house and kept the party going strong.

T Marie and Kiwi writer, TaQuinda Johnson (T. Marie) and Gospel artist, Kiwi

Dr. Deb, who also teaches at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, had 39 of her 40 “Introduction to Gospel Music” students in attendance. The “Field Trip” was a sure ‘nuf education in gospel, as Byron Cage took us to school and provided a crash course in “Advanced Sing Your Behind-Off” Gospel music.

Byron showed clips from the DVD of his new release. The energy from the live recording was evident in the energy that was generated in just watching the video clips. It was almost as if we were back at the live recording as those in attendance sang, clapped, praised and danced. A person in the audience was overheard saying, “there’s not a bad track on that project!” and most rushed out to purchase their copy and get it signed at the evening’s end.

Byron made a special point of encouraging Detroiters and letting them know that God is “Faithful to Believe.” He went on to say that he had written that song for Detroiters and closed out the evening by singing the title cut live with several back-up singers from the original live recording, including Detroiters Ron Kelly, Peggy James, Suzanne Young and Charles Curry.

Others gospel industry personnel present, to show their support for Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard and Byron Cage, were Darius Twyman, LaShell Griffin, Larry Calahan, Upper Room owners Pam and Alonzo Dover and Triumph Church’s Pastor Solomon Kinloch, Jr. owner, Mary Crosby; producer, Renee’; and writers, Brenda Underwood, and TaQuinda Johnson were also present, and wouldn’t have missed celebrating with two of their favorite Detroiters for the world.

If you haven’t already picked up Byron’s latest project (his 6th), run, don’t walk to get it. Every song on it is a home run, and with guest artists Karen Clark Sheard, Marvin Winans, and Tye Tribbett, Byron has pulled out all of the stops. The song writing, the production, the energy, and the singing are “off the chain!” Byron’s voice is a gift from God and to have it showcased on a project like this one is a gift to anyone who loves good gospel music. joins in celebrating two phenomenal Detroiters and their accomplishments. We pray many more years for Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard on the airwaves of Detroit, and many more successful projects from “The Prince of Praise,” Minister Byron Cage. We love you both!

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The brand new album from Stellar Award Winner Byron Cage includes:
“Lord You Are My Everything” featuring Karen Clark Sheard & Marvin Winans
“Simply Yes,” “In The Midst” with Tye Tribbett & the hit song and video “Faithful To Believe”

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Byron Cage’s New Single “FaithFul To Believe”
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