Choirs, singers honor King

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.

Local gospel choirs and performers — many of them from east Gainesville — got their praise on and a former professional athlete gave a brief speech about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus Christ and setting goals in life at the King Celebration 2012 Gospel Extravaganza.

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A woman in the audience dances in worship during the King Celebration 2012 National Holiday Gospel Celebration.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to the Guardian

Instead of bringing in a national recording artists to headline the event, organizers decided to feature talent from the local gospel community this year to entertain a crowd of several hundred at the King Center in northeast Gainesville, the place where the annual King Celebration Commemorative March ends.

The Rev. Karl "The Rev." Anderson, senior co-pastor of Upper Room Ministries Church of God in Christ in northeast Gainesville, served as the emcee. He began the program by introducing William Green, a former NFL running back with the Cleveland Browns who is now in the business of winning souls for Jesus Christ.

Green is a member of the Strength Team, a group of current and former professional athletes who perform amazing feats of strength to gain the attention of their audience before delivering motivational and inspirational speeches. Green is in town with the Strength Team, which will be performing and speaking at 7 p.m. at Upper Room through Thursday.

Green took a three-inch Yellow Pages telephone book and tore it in half vertically after asking a man from the audience to come on stage to try it to prove that the telephone book was real. After tearing the book in half, Green told the crowd that what he did was not what was important, but the thing that matters the most is the "life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ."

He said it is important to have goals and he urged parents in the crowd to emphasize that to their children.

Green, who was drafted by the Browns in the first round with the 16th pick in 2002 out of Boston College, said both of his parents had died by the time he was 13 while growing up in Atlantic City, N.J., and he remembers one thing his mother used to always tell him.

"She used to always tell me to have a dream, to have a goal that I wanted to achieve in life," Green said.

The Showers of Blessings Harvest Center Youth Choir of southeast Gainesville sang first and they made a number of people in the crowd get up out of their seats to praise God while they sang "You Should Be A Witness" and "Jesus Did It Suddenly."

Their performance had Anderson hyped, as he jumped up and down on stage after their performance shouting "My God! My God! My God!"

There also were performances by the Springhill Missionary Baptist Church Second Sunday Choir, the North Florida Central Gospel Announcers Guild featuring Anderson and Minister Sebrenah Phillips of Gainesville, Bartley Temple United Methodist Church Youth Choir, Tywon "T. Bailey" Bailey, The Williams Singers of Gainesville and the Already Taken Gospel Band of Highlands Missionary Baptist Church in northeast Gainesville.

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