Gospel music brings inspiration

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Sometimes, "gospel music ministers" to hurting hearts like no other message, Center Hill Baptist Church Pastor Greg Mitchell confirms.

That's evidenced each year as Fall begins canvassing the Upper Cumberland region in glorious color.
"I've been involved now for eight years," noted Auburntown gospel singer Frank Patrick, who sounds the "baritone notes" for the group, "Men of Grace," that helps headline Woodbury's annual "Gospel Music Jamboree" held each year at the Justin M. Pemberton Arena.

"Sometimes, gospel music penetrates the hearts of folks, like nothing else," noted Patrick. "Gospel music often reaches those who don't attend church…"

Event organizer John Duggin, a longtime member of Center Hill congregation that helps "anchor" the Jamboree each September, agreed: "Gospel music has messages in song that can reach the inner-most feelings of man."

Music from Woodbury's annual Gospel Music Jamboree echoed out across the rolling hills of largely rural Cannon County on a recent Friday and Saturday when stands at the Pemberton Arena were filled with people from several surrounding counties.

"It's one of the most touching events in our community," chimed Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon.

"We see neighbors and friends at the Gospel Music Jamboree that we seldom see any other time, except at maybe funerals…

"Their groups are very talented, and we thank them for bringing their God-given talents to Cannon County," accounted Gannon. "Plus, it brings new people into our community, which helps our local businesses…"
It was obvious this recent Friday night when people got excited when baritone Patrick "jarred down" on the notes of old hymn standard: "What A Day That Will Be."

"I started with Men of Grace approximately eight years ago, with the group's origin being here in Auburn at Grace Baptist Church," Patrick added. "That old gospel standard has always blessed my soul…"

"Frank does a real good job on 'What A Day That Will Be,'" Duggin noted.

Organizer Duggin's favorite song?: "One Blessed Man."

"But, our group begins most of our public performances with theme song 'Glory Road,"  Duggin harmonized as the group's lead singer.

This years' Jamboree (held the last weekend of September) featured 16 gospel groups from throughout Middle Tennessee.

The events' organized presentation evidences the amount of long and tedious work it takes to stage an old fashioned community gospel singing.

"Each year, it takes about three long hard months of planning, arranging for the gospel groups," Duggin reported. "But, the whole community pitches in, including preparation of the Pemberton Arena.

"We sell advertising space that merchants help us with expenses," Duggin accounted. "Those booklets are given out throughout the community, and to those attending our two-day and two-night gospel singing.

"Each of our 16 gospel groups this year, played an hour session," Duggin added. "We had some awesome inspired talent…"

The amount of "physical labor" is intensive. It's a community-wide effort.

"We borrow the 'sound stage' from 'Good Ole Days,' that the Cannon County Sheriff's Department helps us with transporting and installing…"

"The county government also helps in preparation of the arena grounds," Duggin described. "They roll and help pack the earth in preparation for arrival of all the performers and the sound stage equipment."

The only fund-raising involved are items sold in the concession stand by the Center Hill Baptist Youth Group.
"There's no charge for our singings," Duggin added.

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