A powerful Encounter 2012


Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 11:57 a.m.

Powerful performances by local and national recording gospel artists highlighted Encounter 2012, a free label-launching concert for Full Gospel Records Inc. in Gainesville.

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Damita Haddon of Detroit sings at the concert.

ELIZABETH HAMILTON/Special to the Guardian

The event included interviews on the red carpet hosted by Earl Bynum, who hosts "On Stage with Earl Bynum," a radio broadcast on the Internet at "Rejoice: Musical Soul Food."

More than 300 people attended the concert held Saturday night at University Auditorium on the University of Florida campus. Ace Alexander, host of "The Praise Party with Ace Alexander" on the Sheridan Gospel Network, a satellite gospel network, served as the emcee. Alexander said it is important for Christians to understand that there are many ways to reach people through music. He told a story about how a woman called his show and said a song he played was ungodly because it was not a traditional gospel song.

"God is looking for powerful, kingdom-building-minded people," Alexander said.

Later in the concert, Alexander asked Gainesville gospel rapper Tywon "T. Bailey" Bailey to talk about why he choose to worship God through gospel rap. Bailey said he grew up in Miami around a lot of different cultures that had a big influence on him. He said not only does he use urban gospel rap, he also has reggae- and Latino-infused gospel rap on his last CD, titled "Outside the Four Walls."

"We have a God that remains the same," Bailey said while on stage with Alexander after performing with DeQuan "DKing" King, another Gainesville gospel rapper. "I choose to take my passion and give it to God through my music."

Bailey also said Christians are supposed to reach people where they are, and he said there are many ways to minister to people.

Before talking to Alexander, Bailey and King energized the crowd with their high-octane performance, dancing and shouting praises to God as they performed "I Got Away" and "Outside the Four Walls."

Daniel Mitchell, who founded Full Gospel Records at the age of 17 in 2010, also performed with his group The Hillel Choir. Mitchell awed the audience with his anointed and powerful voice as his choir sang in the background, making the songs they performed even more spirit-filled. They performed several songs throughout the evening, including "No Boundaries, No Limit."

"There is no boundary to what God can do in your life tonight," Mitchell said as he ministered on stage. "I am a living witness to that."

After being introduced by Mitchell, Alexander said it is "amazing" that Mitchell is only 19 years old before asking those in the audience with Twitter accounts to tweet throughout the night about what was going on at the concert.

"Tonight we are going to impact the world and celebrate Jesus Christ," Alexander said.

Others who performed at the concert included The Galarza Family, Deborah Reshard and Tayana Washington & New Vision, all of Gainesville; Isaac Brown and GANG (God's Anointed New Generation) of Lake Butler; Maurice Griffin of Jacksonville and Damita Haddon of Detroit.

Washington said she and her group loves and supports Mitchell.

"He is a friend, and we always support people that support us," Washington said. "He and his group has participated in our anniversary for two years in a row, and we are all about supporting one another."

Brown, speaking after being interviewed by Bynum on the red carpet, said he and his choir also performed to support Mitchell.

"We like supporting all of the local artists who are doing the same thing we are doing, and that is spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through the ministry of music," Brown said.

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