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A longstanding Black History Month tradition is taking place this week.
The annual Gospel Musical celebrating Black History Month, sponsored by the First Baptist Church Scholarship Committee and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, is at 7 p.m. Friday at the church.
This is the 27th year for the event that includes performances from multiple gospel musicians and groups.
It typically attracts hundreds of spectators. Coordinator Pam Harper said the event first was held on ECTC’s campus, but the 400 audience members far exceeded the space limits. She laughed as she recalled one of the local fire departments responding to the overflow of people.
“We got in trouble right off the bat,” she said, chuckling.
Harper said the event has remained popular because there is free entertainment and a free dinner. Friday’s dinner includes honey baked ham, Popeye’s chicken and homemade desserts.
Attendants are welcome to donate to the scholarship committee, which creates college scholarships for graduating seniors of First Baptist Church who have at least a 2.5 grade point average, she said.
This year’s event includes performances by Cynthia Cole, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church choir, Patrick Leach, One Accord, and Little Zion Youth and Men’s Brotherhood choirs, among others.
Along with helping church members, the event gives the college an opportunity to reach the community. Harper said one local nursing home brings residents to the musical every year because they can receive entertainment and a meal for free.
“That in itself is truly a community service,” she said.
Harper said she wants everyone to feel welcome to attend.
“The most important thing is we want everyone to feel at home,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.