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On Saturday, December 17, 2016, SC Gospel Quartet Radio and SC Gospel Quartet Awards presented an appreciation program for Toby A. Goodson. The concert was held at Faith, Hope and Charity Church in Columbia, SC.

Before reporting on the concert, let me tell you about Toby. Toby is the son of Sister Blanche and Brother Ronald Goodson. Sister Goodson is affectionately referred to as The Mouth Of The South. She is a radio angel, promoter and currently the CEO of SC Gospel Quartet Radio and SC Gospel Quartet Awards. As CEO of SC Gospel Quartet Radio, she has taken an idea of having an online radio broadcast and launched a 24/7 online station that is changing the way gospel fans around the world get their praise on at home, work and while traveling. Ronald Goodson is a songwriter, arranger, singer and musician extraordinaire, he is also the lead guitarist for The Legendary National Juniors.

Thus Toby grew up immersed in the gospel music genre. As a result, he is an exceptional drummer. He is a music producer. He is also one of the up and coming music engineers  with a unique ability to maximize digital software and equipment to get the most out of artists. So, it was fitting that his Mom and Dad would want to celebrate the holiday season with a gospel concert Appreciation Program just for their son.

The concert began with devotion by Little Ms. Danasha Richardson. What a talent. At six (6) years old, she delivered biblical scriptures and very fitting devotional songs like a pro. The concert performers were The Southern Gospel Singers, Willie Goins & The Medlondyettes, The National Juniors and The Talley Boys, with Minister Teddy Cross and Robert Williams. All of the groups were great. The National Juniors introduce the congregation to the title track from their new CD “Just Look How The Lord Blessing You And Me.”

The headliners The Talley Boys, with Minister Teddy Cross and Robert Williams took the services to greater heights.  Now, for gospel fans, you know that The Talley Boys were the musicians for the group Willie Neal Johnson & The New Gospel Keynotes. And, you also know that Minister Cross and Robert Williams were longtime members of The Gospel Keynotes as well as The New Keynotes.

So, having Minister Cross and Robert Williams on stage with the Talley Boys brought back fond memories of the legendary Gospel Keynotes. This was a reunion of sorts and what a reunion it was. Minister Cross and Robert Williams shared lead duties. Yes, Minister Cross did call “Robert” just like the late Willie Neal Johnson would have. And, yes, the guys embraced all of the comedic moves that fans were use to seeing by a performance of “The Gospel Keynotes.” But, they sang. And, they took the audience down memory lane. And, what a trip it was – with songs like, “Jesus, You’ve Been Good To Me,” “This Is Just A Rehearsal,” and so many more. What a grand time we had with this new configuration of The Keynotes.

If you are a promoter and you want to bring to your city a group that will electrify the audience and deliver that traditional gospel quartet sound with a twenty-first century flare, then you need to book The Talley Boys, with Minister Teddy Cross and Robert Williams. You will not be disappointed. And, your audience will surely be saying “Lord, I Thank You.”

Congrats! Blind, Speechless, Deaf, Wheelchair HONOREESFebruary is Black History Month – when we as a nation recognize the contributions of a people who have labored, served and sacrificed for this country and the world. The book of Isaiah fell in my spirit…which is where we learn about how to travel through the valleys of judgment, yet gain the privilege of walking along the road of redemption…This is our history, this is our life as we live it today…This is Mama Tena’s life each and every day!

Mama Tena is a blind lady in Drummonds, TN who has been promoting various programs and events for several years. This lady lives on a fixed income; budgets out her tithes, house payment, utility payments, furniture payment, food expenses for the month – and squeezes every dime she gets each month to meet her obligations and host a Family Dinner the first Sunday of each month. Yet, she manages to sponsor events for the Volunteer Fire Fighters, an Annual Black History Event program, appreciation musicals for her church Musicians, a small Voice Children’s Choir (ensuring that they are uniformed with robes), annual toy and coat drives, etc. It has amazed me what all this “blind lady” has done, with literally nothing, over the few years I’ve had the privilege of knowing her.

Mama Tena Mebane Alexander is her name. This lady has inspired me and countless other folks in her community and throughout the state of Tennessee to at least be more “kind” and “giving” to each other. She has a network of supporters; the community doctors, teachers, lawyers, church clerks, area Pastors, elected officials, and many others, all respond when “Mama Tena” calls them to help with whatever program or event she is coordinating. Two years ago, she was recognized nationally by the American Gospel Quartet Convention as a Woman Of Influence. She cried so many tears of joy that night – the entire audience felt how humble she was…She is an amazing lady, and I am honored to call her my friend….

With that being said – The Lord touched my spirit and planted an idea in my heart…I made a few calls to artists I’ve worked with in the Memphis area, and as a result the following is going to happen in honor of Mama Tena Mebane Alexander, and 14 other people in her small town and surrounding communities of Drummonds, Brighton and Millington, Tennessee.

On Friday, February 10, 2012 -there is going to be a “Celebration of Love” event held in Mama Tena’s honor, which will also recognize 14 other people in her community that are also blind, wheelchair bound, speechless or deaf . This event is FREE and open to the public, and will be held at Shiloh Baptist Church,98 Kenwood Avenue, Brighton, TN where Rev. Darrell K. Rozell is Pastor. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Scheduled to be there to celebrate these community servants are some of Memphis’ greatest artists – Mr. George Dean of the Gospel Four, The Bell Singers and Rev. Melvin Rodgers of New Bethel Baptist Church and a member of the Memphis Harmonizers.

Tena does not permit her blindness to stop her from pursuing the vision that God has placed in her heart – to “serve” her community – and now is the time for the community to say “Thank You”!

By: Dr. Ella Mahmoud

2012 New Year's CelebrationThere are programs that happen each year that you can actually plan your quartet gospel calendar around. For instance, anyone involved with quartet gospel know that on the First Sunday in October, all roads lead to Augusta for The Swanee Quintet’s Anniversary. And, for over 30 years the Blockbuster Showdown has taken place in Florence, South Carolina during the first part of March. Likewise, each valentine weekend, quartet gospel enthusiasts journey to Albany, Georgia, for the Family Reunion Fest. Don’t forget the Mississippi Burning near the end of May. The Burning has been a mainstay on the Gospel Quartet concert calender for over 27 years.

And, of course there is the American Gospel Quartet Convention held the third (3rd) week of January in Birmingham, Alabama. This will be the twentieth (20th) year for the Convention. The “2012 AGQC will exhibit a strong atmosphere with a mixture of church and music industry presentations, seminars, record company showcases, special luncheon, and powerful preaching.”

Another annual event is the New Year’s Day program sponsored by Loretta Coleman in Columbia, South Carolina. January 1, 2012, will be the twelfth (12th) year for the program. The 2012 program is headlined by Doc McKenzie & The Hi-Lites. Joining the Doctor will be The Fantastic Violinaires, The Sensational Nightingales, The Legendary Singing Stars, Lil’ David & The Bells Of Joy, Lil’ Sonny & The Peacemakerz, Faithful, Rev. Mathew Mickens & The New Highway Travelers, and God’s Bless.

What a FANTASTIC way to begin the new year.

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