Integrity Gospel recording artist, Joe Pace, officiates at a conference luncheon.
What could inspire me and my husband to make that risky drive down I-75 to Atlanta in the middle of Winter? The opportunity to learn from the best and brightest in the gospel music industry, to network with today’s and tomorrow’s top gospel artists, and the promise of, “establishing generational wealth.” We found all of this and more at this year’s Gospel Heritage Praise & Worship Conference in Atlanta, GA.
Gospel Today Magazine founder, Teresa Hairston, is also the founder and chair of the Gospel Heritage Foundation (GHF). GHF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of the Gospel heritage and the preservation of the Gospel legacy. In the program booklet, Ms. Hairston states that, “Our goal, this week, is to plant a seed in the mind, body and spirit of everyone who attends this conference. We must begin to focus in on what it will take to be the nation of leaders, kings and queens that God has raised up for this last day.”
This year’s theme, “Establishing Generational Wealth,” was based on Proverbs 13:22:
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
The Conference was held at Word of Faith Cathedral and the Airport Renaissance Hotel in Atlanta, GA, and included concurrently running sessions for youth and adults. Class topics included choir decorum, improving your praise team, radio and retail for independent artists, dance ministry, tours and booking agencies, planning the perfect event, how to tell your story in print, and many more.
DG.com’s Keith Crosby with Integrity Gospel recording artist, Stephen Hurd
Integrity Gospel recording artist, Lisa McClendon
Instructors included a who’s who of the gospel industry’s finest including Max Siegel, Richard Smallwood, Joe Pace, Percy Bady, Luther Barnes, Tracey Artis, Stephen Hurd, Lisa McClendon, Lonnie Hunter, Veda Brown, Pam Perry, and other heavy hitters.
During the daylight hours the conference provided an abundance of classes and sessions, but in the evenings, attenders were given plenty of opportunities to get their praise on.
2005 GHF Award recipient and gospel legend, Daryl Coley
On Thursday evening, The 2005 GHF Awards presentation saluted the great pioneers of gospel. The Awards show was co-hosted by Michelle Williams and Hezekiah Walker. The thousands in attendance witnessed five gospel legends receive their awards. Of the five, three hail right here from Detroit! Those honored were Fred Hammond, Luther Barnes, Daryl Coley, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and Thomas Whitfield.
2005 GHF Award recipient and gospel legend, Vanessa Bell Armstrong
DG.com’s Mary Crosby with 2005 GHF Award recipient and gospel legend, Fred Hammond
Memorable highlights from the evening included Detroit’s own J Moss singing, “We Must Praise,” and then presenting Fred Hammond with his GHF Award. Prior to Thomas Whitfield’s brother, Larry Whitfield, and his long-time manager, Donna Harris, accepting Thomas Whitfield’s award in his memory, Melanie Daniels movingly sang a Thomas Whitfield classic. Malaco recording artist, Lonnie Hunter & The Voices of St. Mark, had the congregation dancing in the aisles with their spirited performance of “Let’s Dance.”
2005 GHF Award in memory of gospel great Thomas Whitfield. Accepted by Thomas Whitfield’s brother, Larry Whitfield, and manager, Donna Harris
For the young at heart, after the awards presentation wrapped up around midnight, the “Late Night Praise Joint” hosted by J moss and featuring Tye Tribbett & Greater Anointing kept the high praise going early into the morning.
DG.com’s Mary Crosby and Radical For Christ member, Agee Smith
DG.com’s Mary Crosby and Malaco recording artist, Lonnie Hunter
As if classes, sessions, awards, and praise parties weren’t enough, the conference also included luncheons with keynote speakers, special sessions (with keynote speakers that included Pastor Andrae Crouch, Pastor Hezekiah Walker, and Dr. Marvin Sapp), a youth & college choir competition hosted by Kirk Franklin, vendors, an unsigned artist / independent label showcase, and last, but certainly not least, the 2005 GHF Live Recording session.
Integrity Gospel recording artist, Stephen Hurd, leads praise and worship at Friday’s conference luncheon
Yes, it was definitely worth the drive down, but next year, we’re flying!