Gospel Explosion to feature national, local talent at the Vicksburg Auditorium

Published 4:00 am Sunday, May 1, 2022

National and local artists will help area residents praise God and enjoy an opportunity to escape from the worries of COVID-19 on June 4 at the Gospel Explosion sponsored by Trinity Temple Baptist Church.

The program begins at 6 p.m. at the Vicksburg Auditorium. The theme for the event is “In His Presence.” Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com or from Fred Davenport at Clay’s Barbershop and Unique Sisters Boutique.

“This is our second event,” said Loran Archer, one of the program’s organizers. “Our first was in 2019 but we were unable to have it in 2020 or 2021 because of COVID-19. We had Kierra Sheard in 2019.”

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This year’s featured performer is Melvin Crispell III, a winner on BET’s “Sunday Best,” but Archer said the program will also highlight “some wonderful songbirds.”

The 10-member Trinity Temple Ensemble will open up the program and local artists Jan Banks, Charlotte Price, Lady Julie Hammitte and Yashica Studdeth will also perform.

“Jan and Charlotte are from Vicksburg and Lady Hammitte is from Fayette,” Archer said. “I like to call them ‘Songbirds of the South’ and we want the opportunity to highlight our local talent.”

A native of Charlotte, N.C., Crispell is the Season 9 winner of BET’s “Sunday Best,” a gospel music competition that introduces new gospel artists and enables them to connect with record companies. He released his first album, “I’ve got a Testimony” in 2020.

Archer said the Gospel Explosion was organized because “we want to create a praise and worship experience in the River City that is outside the walls of the church.

“We feel that our souls and spirits need to be uplifted particularly in this time because we have had COVID fatigue for over two years,” she said. “We want to create an outlet where people can come and spread out and enjoy song and praise God for bringing us this far.”

Archer said the church has always a spiritual foundation for people’s souls “so we wanted to bring the foundation outside of the walls of the church as an outing for families, for groups to come to the city auditorium from the city and the surrounding areas — to provide another avenue and another outlet to worship.”

The first explosion featuring Sheard, she said, drew 600 people.

“The people had a wonderful experience; it was casual attire —come as you are,” she said. “This one will be the same way.”

Archer said organizers have been working on the June show since the 2019 show ended.

“We canceled in 2020 and canceled in 2021,” she said. “We decided to press on for 2022 because the (COVID) numbers are better. COVID is not gone but certainly decreased enough to where we have to learn to exist with COVID. People are more comfortable getting out so we thought it was the perfect opportunity.

“People can come and wear a mask or do whatever they’re comfortable with. We want them to come out and have a wonderful experience with us.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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