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May 20, 2009

Gospel favorites the Jackson Southernaires and contemporary Christian hit-makers Avalon headline the Ninth Annual Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Fest on Saturday, May 23, at Cherry Street Pavilion in historic downtown Helena-West Helena.

The free festival, a production of the Delta Cultural Center, begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 10 p.m.

Also performing are The Racy Brothers, The Kellys, the Rev. Andrew Cheairs, The Rev. Daniel “Slick” Ballinger, The Myles Family, The Selvy Singers, Gzosh, Shae Norman, Chris Coleman & Devine Outreach, Voices of Joy, The Lord’s Creation, and more.

The Jackson Southernaires have been bringing their distinctive sound to Delta audiences since 1940, and won new fans with a radio show they hosted for more than four decades and their popular television series, “Gospel Unlimited.” Nominated for a Grammy for 1991’s “Thank You Mama for Praying For Me,” the Southernaires were awarded Traditional Male Group of the Year honors from the Gospel Music Workshop in 1987, 1988, and 1989. The long-lived Mississippi group is slated to close out the 2009 festival with a performance beginning at 9 p.m.

Avalon, one of the premier contemporary Christian groups recording today, is scheduled to perform on the Cherry Street Pavilion at 7:35 p.m. Formed in 1996, Avalon has sold more than three million albums, charted 20 Number One singles, and captured an American Music Award and numerous Dove Awards. The quartet’s latest disc is “Another Time, Another Place: Timeless Christian Classics.” In addition to the many performances, those attending the festival will also have their own rare opportunity to become part of a choir that will perform two songs on the festival stage during the day.

The Delta Cultural Center will be offering a special program concurrent with the gospel festival during which a group of interested persons will receive instruction at the DCC’s Miller Hotel performance space on Cherry Street. Leading the ad hoc gospel choir will be Little Rock gospel recording artists Rod and Fredia Cummings.

The program is slated to begin at 11 a.m. and the performance by the impromptu choir is slated at 3 p.m. on the Cherry Street Pavilion stage. Those interested in participating in the choir instruction can call the DCC to register or simply register at the Miller by 11 a.m. Participation and instruction are free of charge and open to the public.

Financial assistance in the presentation of the 2009 Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Festival was provided by the Helena-West Helena Advertising and Promotion Commission.

Gallery hours at the DCC Visitors Center at 141 Cherry Street and the nearby DCC Depot at 95 Missouri Street are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. “King Biscuit Time,” the nation’s longest-running blues radio program, is hosted each weekday at the DCC Visitor’s Center by “Sunshine” Sonny Payne, from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. “Delta Sounds,” hosted by DCC Assistant Director Terry Buckalew and Payne, is broadcast each Friday at 1 to 1:30 p.m.

For more information, interested persons can call the Delta Cultural Center at (870) 338-4350 or toll free at (800) 358-0972, visit the DCC online at, or email [email protected]

The Delta Cultural Center shares the vision of all seven agencies of the Department of Arkansas Heritage – to preserve and promote Arkansas heritage as a source of pride and satisfaction. Other agencies within the department are the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Arts Council, and the Natural Heritage Commission.

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Ninth Annual Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Festival Saturday, May 23, 2009 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

11-11:45 a.m.: Opening Ceremonies with Bishop Matthew McKing, Mayor James Valley

11:50-Noon: Sister Angel

12:05-12:20 p.m.: Positive Image

12:25-12:40 p.m.: Destanie Jennings

12:45-1:15 p.m. The Myles Family

1:20-1:45 p.m.: Sons of Wonder

1:50-2:40 p.m.: The Racy Brothers

2:45-3:05 p.m.: Chris Coleman & Devine Worship

3:10-3:30 p.m.: Gzosh

3:20-3:50 p.m.: Cork Singers

3:55-4:15 p.m.: The Lord’s Creation

4:20-4:40 p.m.: The Selvy Singers

4:45-5:15 p.m.: The Rev. Daniel “Slick” Ballinger

5:20-5:50 p.m.: Voices of Joy

5:55-6:05 p.m.: Evening Welcome/ Mayor James Valley

6:10-6:45 p.m.: The Kellys

6:50-7:30 p.m.: Andrew Cheairs & The Songbirds

7:35-8:20 p.m.: Avalon

8:25-8:55 p.m.: Shae Norman

9-10 p.m. Jackson Southernaires

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