Almost 100 Years of Song
According to their website, "The State Annual Singing Convention, which brings thousands of people to Benson each year, began modestly in a tobacco warehouse in 1921. About 200 people listened to two choirs that day. Since that time, the State Annual Singing Convention has grown and become one of the largest and oldest gospel sings in the United States."
The almost 100 year old event attracts participants and spectators from all over the southeast. It is a force that can’t be stopped. In fact, in 1943, during World War II, the organizers decided to cancel the competition. However, after notices were placed around the state in area newspapers and sent to area churches over 3,000 people showed up on the fourth weekend in June. Organizers proceeded with the competition to entertain the faithful followers of the Sing. You can visit the Benson Museum of Local History to learn more interesting facts like that one and the long history of the singing convention.
BYOLC - Bring Your Own Lawn Chair
This year's convention, nicknamed the Benson Sing, is expecting over 50 amateur, semi-professional and professional competitors. The Ninety-seventh State Annual Singing Convention will be held Friday, June 23rd through Sunday, June 25th in the Singing Grove, a beautiful city park at 400 East Main Street in Benson, North Carolina. No admission is charged, and people are encouraged to bring a lawn chair to sit and enjoy the music.
On Friday, the following groups will each present thirty minute concerts starting at 7pm: Called Out Ministries, The Hinshaw Trio, Potter’s Will, Two For Christ, Trinity Quartet, and The Shockey Family.
On Saturday, national recording artist Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (pictured below) will be featured in a special concert at 7pm with The Walters Family opening at 6:30pm. Many other talented semi-professional and amateur groups will appear during the weekend. A concert by our sixty-voice Convention Choir will follow Sunday afternoon’s competition.
Sing Your Heart Out - How to Participate
As customary, informal (round robin) singing begins at 10am on Saturday and Sunday and continues daily with only two exceptions: (1) during group competition and (2) during the special concerts by Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and the Walters Family Saturday night. All groups are welcome and encouraged to sing in the contests. People are welcome to come out and watch at any time. On Saturday and Sunday competing junior and senior group categories include duets, trios, quartets, families, church choirs, juniors, and live accompaniment and begin both days at 2pm. In addition, the Convention is introducing a Bluegrass Gospel category into its lineup this year on Saturday and Sunday.
Groups singing in competition are asked to fill out a registration form in the office in the Singing Grove by 1pm each day. There is no online registration this year. Please call, fax, or email if you have questions. There are no solos due to time restraints. There is no entry fee to compete in the contests.
More Information on The Sing
The State Annual Singing Convention, Inc. website, www.gospelsingingconvention.org, has important information for 2017. You can also visit them on Facebook at State Annual Singing Convention – Benson Sing. Please call (919)-894-4389, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for additional information.
If you're interested in more summer events, shows, and concerts in the Johnston County area, visit johnstoncountyevents.com.