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Gospel Legend and Icon Dorothy Norwood brings the crowd to their feet at

Gospel Music Fest with The Belle 2014

TBR – Richmond, VA – Thanks to a sunny forecast, despite the hot temperatures, Richmond and the Tri City area turned out for one of the biggest Gospel Weekends on the East Coast.  With more than fifty artists, music industry executives, special guests and announcers all participating, this was truly the ”Big Gospel Weekend”.  

Kicking off the big weekend on Saturday morning, July 12th was the 2nd Annual East Coast Gospel Music Summer Fest, held this year at 5th Baptist Church, 1415 West Cary Street, Richmond, VA.  The morning started with a special musical presentation by Zion’s Voice, followed with special workshop classes with discussions including “Church Leadership/Young Leaders – Is There a Disconnect?”  Panelists included Music Director for The Bill Cosby Show, Living Single and Different World Stu Gardner, Rev. Ray Palmer, Esq., Monica Lucas and Pastor Fred Wyatt.  The Belle was the Facilitator.

The class became so involved that two young adults were moved to shared their amazing testimonies, leaving not a dry eye anywhere.  It was a powerful moment.

Up next was “Gospel Hip Hop – Who is it reaching and why doesn’t radio play it?”.  Guest Facilitator was Hip Hop recording artist Blaze. Guest panelists included C. Goss, Justin Pelham, Chris Gilchrist and Tye Berkeley.

“Have we compromised the Word of God for Success” was the third panel with guest panelists Patrick Noble Allen, Brandon Anderson, Ju Joyner,  Donald Ashley and Ami Rushes.  The Belle, served as the Facilitator, followed by the forth panel, “Lights/Camera/Action – An Inside look at Acting,” with guest facilitators Sharon Gilbert and Crystal A. Wiley.

Following the classes, lunch and a dinner break, the crowd returned for the East Coast Gospel Music Summer Gospel Showcase.  Hosted by Dr. Bobby Jones, The Belle, Van Boyd, Sharvette Michell, Jr. R. Davis and Kim Robinson, this was a busy night with more than 20 groups  showcasing their gifts and talents in song.

With Minister V. kicking things off with a rap, other special guests included, Marcell Wyche and Octave Praise, Zions Voice, Donte’ McCutchen, Maurice Griffin, Monica Lisa Stevenson, Tray Howard, Lemmie Battle, Sessums, Donald Ashley, Eric Waddell & The Abundant Life, Singers, David Daughty, Ami Rushes, Tye Beryley, Blaze, Andrew Boyd, Chiquita Cross, Glenda Woodard and Superintendent Patrick Wooden & The Upper Room COGIC of Raleigh, N.C.

Once again, this became thee event that created strong networking opportunities for newcomers in the Gospel community as well as established and industry executives. 

On Sunday, July 13, 2014, the festivities continued in the evening with “The 5th Annual Gospel Music Fest with The Belle” at Dogwood Dell.  The annual outdoor event once again, returned in front of a capacity crowd. Concert goers were treated to a mixture of Contemporary, Traditional and Quartet sounds. 

This year’s special guest included Poet Ayo M Morton, Spoken Arts LLC., Katelyn McCarter, James Johnson & the Voices of Cedar Street, Ruth LeOntra, Alex Holt & Free, Maurice Griffin, Cora Armstrong, Dr. Larry D. Reid & Breakthrough, Damon Little, God’s Image (G.I.), St. Paul’s Baptist Church Mass Choir, A. Randolph and Dorothy Norwood, (who brought everyone to their feet) was accompanied by Zion’s Voice.

Singing Group God’s Image and Kenny Taylor and The Belle with Mr. Barkey as he takes his first Selfie.

  The evening was hosted by Dr. Bobby Jones and The Belle.