State Annual Singing Convention is celebrating its 100th year
BENSON – The State Annual Singing Convention will celebrate its centennial birthday with special concerts, a reunion meet and greet and a new schedule of events Friday through Sunday, June 25-27.
“Our convention, also known as ‘The Benson Sing,’ has gained national recognition as the oldest outdoor gospel singing convention in the country,” said Rayvon Best, manager of the State Annual Singing Convention.
All concerts and events will be held in Benson’s “Singing Grove” at 400 E. Main St. Events are free and all COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed.
No competition will be held this year.
Sonia Hines, Justin Powell and Todd Johnson will each lead choirs combined from many area churches to present 30-minute concerts beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, June 25. Joey Gore and the Wilmington Celebration Choir will close the evening with a special concert at 8:45.
The Benson Area Chamber of Commerce, the event’s 2021 Board of Directors and their families will host a reunion meet and greet at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 26. The reunion will welcome descendants of Benson Sing’s original founders and families of all former and current directors. Retired and active singers from past conventions, former and present staff and volunteers, and former and present sponsors are invited to attend.
“Since its origin, singers have been returning year after year to display their musical and vocal talents before welcoming audiences,” Best said. “Traditionally, singing groups would enter singing contests during the convention, but for our 100th year, there is no group competition. Instead, this year, favorite local, regional and national award-winning groups will be presenting concerts in celebration of 100 years.”
Concerts featuring past convention award winning groups will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The following groups will be performing: The Joys (Virginia), Whitman-Gore, PALS for Christ, The Blythe Family, The Master’s Hands, The Horell Family, Crimson Cross, Hickory Grove Quartet, Oxendine Family, Trinity Quartet, Crusaders of NC, The Griffins (South Carolina), The Dunns (Virginia), Called Out, The Hinshaw Family, Full Reliance, Tate and Marthieah, Divine Intervention, and The Montgomery Family.
Wesley Pritchard and the Fayetteville Community Church Worship Team will take the stage for a concert at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, hailed as one of the most popular male quartets in Southern Gospel music, will be featured in a special concert between 7 and 9 p.m. A round robin session will follow that concert.
A special 100th year community worship service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 27, with congregational hymns and Mark Trammell delivering the message. The Mark Trammell Quartet will also be singing. A round robin session and lunch on the grounds will follow from noon until 1 p.m. The 100th Convention Choir sings at 2:30 followed by a memorial service at 3:10.
The Benson Sing lost its vice president, Norman Dunn, to a fatal wreck on June 1.
“Mr. Dunn was a well-known, loved and highly respected businessman,” said Best. “He was owner of West and Dunn Funeral Homes in Benson, Newton Grove and Erwin … He was a great supporter of our convention, and over the years, he saw our convention … gain national recognition.”
The convention family will remember his service during this year’s 100th Benson Sing.
The Temple Choir, the Singing Convention’s 2019 Grand Champions, will be in concert at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The convention’s centennial celebration concludes with a concert from “America’s Favorite Family of Gospel Music,” The Hoppers, at 4 p.m.
A huge tent with seating will be provided for everyone’s comfort, but concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own chairs. Concessions will be available.
The State Annual Singing Convention Inc. is a nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.gospelsingingconvention.org or the convention’s Facebook page at State Annual Singing Convention – Benson Sing.
-Dunn Daily Record