Columbus to host inaugural gospel music gathering

Columbus will host the inaugural Indiana State Gospel Music Convention. It will be July 15 and 16 at Westside Community Church, 124 Tipton Lakes Blvd.

The Freedom Quartet of Knoxville, Tennessee, recently voted the 2015 Favorite New Traditional Quartet by readers of the national Singing News Magazine, will be the featured performers during a 7 p.m. July 16 concert with several other chosen acts. Area southern gospel music fans know that publication recently selected Jim Hutson, morning and midday on-air personality for southern gospel radio station WYGS (91.1 FM) in Columbus, for its small-market Golden Mic award.

Hutson also performs with the nationally touring Woodsmen Quartet performing southern gospel music.

Richard Treptow, new president of the Indiana Gospel Music Association, mentioned that a strong local southern gospel music audience and radio station were keys in his decision to bring the event to Columbus. Ideally, he said he wanted a home outside a metro area for the convention expected to attract acts from Indiana and surrounding states and up to 400 people in attendance. The convention will feature workshops, coaching and seminars for performers.

In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, Southern Gospel Music Week acts at the former Commons sometimes attracted crowds of 600 to 800 for an evening or afternoon or three or four acts. Late southern gospel radio disc jockey J.C. Brown of Columbus organized that event, which has continued, although on a slightly smaller scale, each August at a local church.

“Our desire is simply to live up to the association’s goal to support gospel music throughout the state,” said Treptow of Fishers.

Tickets will be $15 for the convention. He said he has been working to secure corporate sponsorships. If the gathering is deemed a success, Treptow said he would like to anchor it in Columbus annually.

Information: 317-847-1018 or ingma.com.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.