First Baptist Church in Elizabethtown will be filled with gospel sounds Friday night for the 33rd annual Gospel Musical Extravaganza.

Staged in a partnership with Eliza­beth­town Community and Technical College, the event begins at 7 p.m.

The theme this year is “Unity in Diversity for Educational Excellence.”

Groups that are scheduled to appear include One Accord, the Moore Sisters, The Peacemakers, Patrick Leach Jr., The New Jerusalem Seventh-Day Adventist Church featuring Warren Harding, the First Baptist Church Mass Choir, Marvin King and the Gospel Keynotes, St. Stephens Baptist Church Hardin County Chapel Choir, Hope Temple Anointed Voices, Lifeline Temple Church of God in Christ, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Choir and Destine for Purpose.

“The most important thing that this event tries to do for this community is celebrate the Lord God Almighty,” said organizer Pam Harper with both ECTC and First Baptist Church. “Without God the black community, as well as this whole community, would be nothing so we have to give all praise and honor to our God in Heaven.”

Harper said First Baptist Church pastor, the Rev. Roger Jones, is continuing the legacy the late Rev. B.T. Bishop began by extending the celebration into its 33rd year.

The event will serve as a way to educate the community about black history and the opportunities to advance through ECTC’s programs, she said. These include free programs many are not aware of, she said.

One of the programs is through a partnership with ECTC and Dow that offers a STEM program to black students. Someone will be present at the event to give details to youth about opportunities they have in STEM areas, Harper said.

She said the event also serves as “Hardin County’s African-American reunion.”

“We’re bringing all the African-American churches together, no matter what denomination, to have a practice session for Heaven right here on Earth,” Harper said.

And like any family reunion, she said there will be plenty of food.

Local restaurants have helped with the food including Popeyes Chicken, Honey Baked Ham, Golden Corral pork chops, Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken and many vegetables.

“We’re going to feast,” she said.

The event is free and Harper said all are welcome.

“Even though it’s Black History Month, it’s everyone’s history,” she said. “It can be a real learning experience because people may not understand how important African-Americans have influenced total history.”

She hopes attendees enjoy the music and food as well as learn about ECTC.

By then, she said, temperatures will warm up and those who have had cabin fever can attend.

“We’re going to shout and have a good time,” Harper said.

The church address is 107 Bishop Lane in Elizabethtown.

For more information, call 270-706-8434.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1740 or

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