Entries tagged with “Florence”.

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.

Promoter Mr. James "Bo" GambleOn Friday, July 29, 2011, James “Bo” Gamble died in Florence, South Carolina. News of his passing was not picked up by AP, NBC, CNN, or any of the other major news outlets. You did not see his name posted as part of the In Memoriam scroll on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. Yet his passing was no less significant.

Why, you may ask? And who was James “Bo” Gamble?

Well, to many in the gospel music industry he was known as “Mr. Blockbuster.” He rightfully earned that title by promoting one of the largest attended gospel quartet concerts on the East Coast, if not in the entire country.

Each year, for over 30 years, he would bring together the best of the best gospel quartets to the Piedmont Region of South Carolina. The program in its infancy was held in Lake City, South Carolina. Because of the many top echelon quartet groups that were a part of the programs, the number of attendees quickly outgrew the Lake City venue. The program was in the later years moved to the Florence Civic Center. Each year fans of gospel quartet music would travel from outside the United States, from the West Coast, and from all points between the West and East Coasts to attend The Blockbuster Showdown.

It became an event that many fans of the genre planned their vacation around. Leave requests would be submitted to employers as soon as the date for the next Blockbuster became known. Fans would travel in buses (sponsored by their area radio station or local promoter), vans, airplanes and trains to attend this event. All because they knew James Gamble would present the best of the gospel quartet genre, all together, for one outstanding evening of gospel music. Fans knew if James Gamble said a particular group was on the program, they would be there. The gospel quartets jockeyed to be on the program. After all, it was The Blockbuster.

So it was no surprise that at his Home Going Services on Friday, August 5, 2011, in the small community of Coward, South Carolina, people showed up to pay their respects to this extraordinary Gospel Music Promoter. Groups like George Dean and The Gospel Four, Doc McKenzie & The Hi-lites, The Swanee Quintet, The Singing Angels, The Gospel Legends, members of The Brooklyn All-Stars, The Bells of Joy and Darrell McFadden & The Disciples attended the services. For many of these groups The Blockbuster has played a significant role in their success. They took the time to let Mr. Gamble’s family know just how much he was appreciated.

To the Family of James Gamble, know that we sincerely appreciate your sharing him with the gospel music industry. Yes, we grieve his passing. Yes, he will surely be missed. But know that he will never be forgotten. The Blockbuster Showdown will never, never, never be the same without him.

Rest In Peace Mr. Blockbuster.

Hi-Lites Music Ministries, Inc.Hi-Lites Music Ministries, Inc., was the brainchild of Doc McKenzie and Darryl Henley. The first project released by the label was in 2004. It was a live recording of four (4) groups titled Hi-Lites Music Ministries, Inc. Presents New Artist Development: Project I.

This groups on the video were Redemption of Columbus, Mississippi; New Chosen Disciples of Florence, South Carolina; Febe & The Chosen Ones of Tallahassee, Florida; and Little Sammy & The Flying Clouds, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 2006, the label released the CD On Time by Leomia Boyd. In 2008, Hi-Lites Music Ministries released Thankful by Flossie Boyd Johnson & Favor. The label also released the concept videos by Doc McKenzie & The Hi-Lites for the songs “Just One Lifetime” and “Pouring Water.”

And, one of the label’s biggest successes was the release of the CD The Answer Is In The Music by Doc McKenzie & The Hi-Lites.