Published on January 13th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Benedict College Gospel Choir Presents An Evening of Gospel

Pictured Dr. Bobby Jones

Columbia, SC— The Benedict College Gospel Choir will present “An Evening of Gospel featuring Dr. Bobby Jones, Ricky Dillard, David Bratton, and the BCGC Legends”. The event is set for 5 p.m., Sunday, January 25, 2015, in the David H. Swinton Campus Center Ballroom, 1616 Oak Street, Columbia, SC. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m. It will be held in honor of Dr. David H. Swinton for his 20 years of dedicated service to Benedict College. In addition, eight former Benedict College Gospel Choir (BCGC) members will perform including Regina Skeeters ’02, Kevin Staley  ’99,  Cedrick James ’04,  Chinae’ Newton ’04,  Wendy Mitchell  ’03,  Ma’neasha Lake  ’00, Christian Walker ’10,  and Briana Bratton ’10.

The event will be an amazing evening of powerful music that will lift the spirits and move the souls of gospel music lovers young and old. During the event, a special musical tribute will be given by Dr. Bobby Jones in honor of Dr. David H. Swinton. Additional selections on the program include the Benedict Gospel Choir Say the Word CD, Bobby Jones CD, and David Bratton’s Hit, Every Praise.

Tickets are currently on sale at $45 for VIP tickets (limited amount) which includes reception and meet the artists, $25 per person in advance, $30 at the door, and $10 for College Students w/valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased at the following locations: The Benedict College Bookstore, 705-4813 and online at www.eventbrite.com.

Dr. Bobby Jones is Mr. Gospel himself, credited with taking Gospel Music to mainstream airwaves via cable television.  Dr. Jones has been a mainstay and creative force behind the country’s most unique and original musical genre.  Bobby Jones Gospel, for which he is best known as host and executive producer, has been seen on BET since November 1980 and is one of the network’s most popular shows. Jones, along with the New Life Singing Aggregation and The Nashville Super Choir, performs all styles of gospel music and welcomes an array of gospel artists. The Bobby Jones Gospel Radio Show and The Bobby Jones Gospel Countdown, air on The Sheridan Radio Network; both have become a favorite of Gospel Music lovers from coast to coast.

Dr. Jones has revolutionized the gospel music industry. Bobby Jones Gospel is the first and only nationally network televised black gospel television show and Video Gospel, which debuted in 1989, is the only nationally network television outlet gospel artists have to showcase their videos. Born in Henry County, Tenn., Jones always dreamt of a career in music. He excelled academically throughout school, graduating from high school at 15 and Tennessee State University at 19 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Jones continued his education by pursuing a master’s degree at Tennessee State and a doctorate from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.  Jones taught elementary students in the Missouri and Tennessee educational systems.

Gospel singer Ricky Dillard was born and raised Chicago, where he inherited a love for gospel music from his mother and grandmother, and began singing in a church choir at an early age. Dillard soon began directing the youth choir in his church (starting at the age of five), and later the young adult choirs. It was around this time that Dillard came across two specific recordings that would inspire him to pursue gospel singing even more zealously — James Cleveland and Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace” with the Southern California Community Choir and the Institutional Radio Choir from Brooklyn, NY. Shortly thereafter, Dillard drew inspiration from other gospel performers as well, including Dr. Charles G. Hayes, Marvin Yancy, Thomas Whitfield, Darryl Coley, Biddy Cummings, Pastor Albert James, and the Tribal Mass Choir. Dillard continued to direct choirs locally, was a member of the Thompson Community Singers, and starting in the early ’90s, began issuing solo albums (which often merged gospel with dance), including such releases as 1991’s Promise, 1993’s A Holy Ghost Take Over, 1995’s Hallelujah, 1996’s Worked It Out, and 2000’s No Limit.

David Bratton, recent recipient of the 2014 Dove Award for “Urban Contemporary Song of the Year” for his hit gospel song “Every Praise”, is not just a minister, songwriter/singer, producer, and musician, he is also a Benedict alumnus.

Recorded by Bishop Hezekiah Walker, “Every Praise” spent a year on the Billboard Top Gospel Airplay chart (with over 26 weeks at #1). The hit song has been translated into 15 different languages and is sung during worship in over 30 countries. On October 25, 2014, Bratton gathered a 200 voice choir and a host of worshippers for “Every Praise Live,” a Worship Movement Experience and recording session at York College, Jamaica, New York.

John David Bratton (his full name) graduated from Benedict College in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration. During his four-year scholastic journey, Bratton was fully involved in academics, but he reserved time out for extracurricular pursuits. He joined the Benedict College Gospel Choir, later becoming one of the directors; and you might say the rest is history.

Bratton mentored for two years as one of the Musical assistants to the Minister of Music at The Brooklyn Tabernacle of New York, winners of six Grammy Awards, where Jim Cymbala is the Pastor and Carol Cymbala is the Minister of Music. He was blessed with a great opportunity to be a blessing to the Kingdom of God in a different part of the vineyard. Bratton is writing a book, which will be aptly entitled “How to be a Master Ministry Musician”. He is also the music coordinator for the CCFM Conference of Churches, working closely with the founder, Bishop Michael Blue of Marion SC. He is also the co-founder, along with his wife Valena, of “God’s Blueprint for Life Ministry,” a mentoring experience for psalmists, spoken word, liturgical dance ministry, and the Arts.

For additional information, please call (803) 705-4519 or (803) 705-4366.


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