WIMAUMA – The Florida Gospel Music Association will host more than 20 gospel music groups Aug. 29 - 31 during its 25th annual convention in Wimauma. About 600 people are expected to attend each nightly performance of international gospel songs at the Wimauma Convention Center, 5408 State Road 674.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m. all three days, fans will have the opportunity to meet their favorite gospel musicians at the exhibit area. CDs and memorabilia can be purchased at the booths. Food and beverages can also be purchased on the grounds.
The Pickerings, Pure Heart, The Harper Brothers and other groups from the Southeastern United States will kick off the celebration Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. All travel at their own expense to the annual convention and volunteer their time to share their inspirational music. Each evening includes a different line-up of performers.
Sunday night all the groups will raise the roof by joining together for a grand finale. A $5 donation is requested at the door for each performance.
Visitors staying at the Wimauma Center Campgrounds and the public are invited for breakfast Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased at the convention center.
Following breakfast Brother Randy Perry will sing and provide chapel services at 10 a.m. both days.
The Pickering family has been called to use their music to promote spirituality since 1957. Dean Pickering, vice president of the Florida Gospel Music Association board of directors and keyboard player for The Pickerings, continues the longtime ministry started by his evangelist father, R. E. Pickering.
In 1990 a few musicians, led by the Pickering family, decided to come up with a way to get exposure for artists that wouldn’t normally be seen. Up to this point most traveled independently around the Southeast hoping for opportunities to be heard. Publicity for their music and ministries was limited.
“We wanted to create harmony and unity with southern gospel music,” said Pickering, one of the association’s founders. “We created a nondenominational, nonprofit organization to help expand our exposure and spread our ministries through music.
“FGMA doesn’t push a certain denomination. We all know there is one God,” Pickering said. “We are all about positive and wholesome music.”
For information on lodging and RV camping with full hookups, call (813) 634-7537.
For additional information on the event, visit www.fgma.org or call (407) 788-6556.
Dosi Loverro is a freelance writer who can be reached at [email protected]