Lighthouse Gospel Music Association comes to Lenoir
For two nights this weekend, the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center will fill with the strains and sounds of Southern gospel music.
The Lighthouse Gospel Music Association, once based in Raleigh and now under new leadership, will hold its annual convention Friday and Saturday.
After ruling out other potential sites, including Raleigh and Myrtle Beach, S.C., organizers chose Lenoir as the convention’s home. Organizer Shellem Cline said Lenoir’s strong Southern gospel history contributed to that decision.
“We’ve got a lot of great Southern gospel and bluegrass groups in this area that, of course, dominate this part of western North Carolina,” Cline said, including George Younce of Patterson and Tony Greene of Boone. “There are so many Southern gospel fans and there are so many fantastic groups in this area.”
The event will feature 21 gospel singers and groups, including Hudson native Tony Burchette and Cline’s own group, Noah’s Faith.
The second night, Saturday, is designated as Pastor Appreciation Night. Pastors get free admission, and the pastor with the most members of his or her congregation in attendance will receive a two-night hotel stay in the N.C. mountains.
Cline said he wanted the event to focus on local and regional Southern gospel musicians, not just huge names.
“Regional and local groups, in Southern gospel music, are the backbone to this industry,” he said. “They’re the ones that can go and share the love of Jesus Christ.”