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Comfort My Soul Conference Coming to Downtown Port Gibson, Mississippi in September (2103 hits)

Without a doubt, gospel music has the power to move the soul. In honor of Mississippi’s Bicentennial and National Gospel Music Heritage Month, Mississippi Cultural Crossroads presents Comfort My Soul: A Celebration of Gospel Music in Southwest MS and Beyond, September 29 – 30 in downtown Port Gibson.

Mississippi is widely known as the birthplace of the blues, and Port Gibson/Claiborne County even boasts a spot on the historic Mississippi Blues Trail. However, the Comfort My Soul Conference will explore the influence of gospel music, especially on life in Southwest Mississippi.

Panelists with a variety of backgrounds and experiences will lead insightful discussions such as how blues and gospel emerged, developed and even borrowed from each other over the years, how church music changed with the popularity of gospel music, and how gospel music has often been the soundtrack of major movements and cultural shifts.

Lunch on Friday will feature a presentation by Dr. Brinda Fuller Willis,a member of the Mississippi Humanities Speaker's Bureau, entitled Why We Call It Soul Food. Dr. Willis is a writer for the Jackson Advocate newspaper and an expert on blues and African American foodways.

Friday evening will feature a Gospel Legends Tribute Concert, hosted by Port Gibson’s own Bro. Jerome “The Maestro” Williams at the Blue Barn Theatre. Local singers and musicians will perform gospel standards made popular by artists such as the Pilgrim Jubilees, Dorothy Love Coates, Howard Hunt and the Supreme Angels, The Davis Sisters, Willie Banks and the Messengers and many others. These songs have been enthusiastically enjoyed by congregations throughout Southwest MS for many years.

Panel discussions will continue Saturday morning in the Crossroads Gallery. In addition, there’s a buzz of excitement about the “HAT”-titude Affair, a celebration of women, music and movements in churches and communities. Keeping the theme of the Bicentennial, 200 Women in Hats and Flats will be photographed inside the iconic First Baptist Church, a center of Civil Rights activism, followed by a unity march and a “HAT”-titude Luncheon at the Meyer-Marx Building featuring Alysia Burton Steele, author of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.

Seating for the ticketed luncheon is limited; however, Alysia Steele’s presentation can also be viewed in the Crossroads Gallery. The conference will officially close with an afternoon concert at the Blue Barn Theatre showcasing the wide array of gospel music talent in and around Southwest Mississippi.

Mississippi Cultural Crossroads, in partnership with the Southwest Mississippi Center for Culture and Learning at Alcorn State University, gratefully acknowledges the support of the Mississippi Humanities Council and Visit Mississippi as part of the state Bicentennial, Entergy MS, the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors and other businesses, organizations and churches without whom the Comfort My Soul Weekend would not be possible.

All conference activities are free and open to the public (except the “Hat”-titude Luncheon), but registration is strongly encouraged in order to provide the best possible conference experience. For more information, or to register, visit the website at www.msculturalcrossroads.org or call 601.437.8905.

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About Mississippi Cultural Crossroads (MCC). MCC is a nonprofit arts, culture and education organization founded in 1978. Our mission is to promote the educational, cultural, and economic development of the community by providing and supporting programs in the arts and humanities which will develop talents, provide outlets for personal expression, and create opportunities for persons of diverse cultural backgrounds to celebrate their heritages and gain respect for other cultures.
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper
Wednesday, September 20th 2017 at 3:48PM
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