Union Hall gospel concert to feature 15 groups

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More than a dozen area gospel groups will perform Sunday in a concert to benefit their local forerunners in gospel. The 3:30 p.m. program at Union Hall is sponsored by Margaret Wells-Parker, widow of local gospel legend Junior Wells, with production assistance from Elijah Bradford, who is chairman of the event.

"Junior Wells was the lead singer of the Gospel Stars," Bradford said. Wells-Parker "is bringing together all the gospel groups in Sumter to sing for the concert to benefit several gospel singers who are very ill. Some are still singing while battling cancer, and most are well into their 70s. We'll have at least 15 or 16 groups performing."

Those being honored, he said, include Marie Charles of The Corinthians; Mary L. Cabbage, Shirley Potts and former manager Isaiah Scriven of The Majestic Kings; Clara Pringle of The Ebony Singers; Jesse Cooke of The Heavenly Aires; Thelma Scarborough of the Sumter Violinaires; Robert Burgess of The Soul Searchers; Pressley Harvin of The Gospel Kings; Sammie Porter of The Golden Five; Joe Papa Pearson of The Gospel Jubilees; Chris Williams of Sisters of Faith; Willie Dingle of Southern The Southern Six; and gospel supporters Michelle Rhudd and Richmond James.

Those attending the concert may designate an individual to receive their donations, Bradford said, adding, "All other offerings will be shared equally."

He said the concert is not one of Christmas music but will feature only gospel by groups including Sumter Violinaires, Purpose Driven, The Valentinos, Justified, The New Boyz, The Melody Aires, Bobby Wilson and Chosen, The Soul Searchers, The Gospel Jubilees, Resurrection, The Gospel Kings and the St. Paul Male Chorus.

Admission is $5, with all proceeds benefiting "those who have gone before," Bradford said. Many will be present at the event.

Union Hall, 1127 Old Pocalla Road, is off U.S. 15 South, on the left just before the Piggly Wiggly. For more information, call Wells-Parker at (803) 464-7182.