The pews of First Bap­tist Church in Eliza­beth­town were filled Friday night while many songs of praise were sung as the church hosted its annual Gospel Musical event.

Now in its 34th year, the event is designed to celebrate Black History Month with the soaring harmonies and powerful grooves of gospel music.

A partnership between the church’s schol­ar­ship committee and Eliza­beth­town Com­munity and Technical College, the celebration featured more than 15 performances throughout the night including The First Bap­tist Mass Choir, The Curry Family, The Peace­mak­ers and Marvin King and The Gospel Key­notes.

Organizer Pamela Har­per served as a host for the event, in­tro­duc­ing speakers and per­formers while encouraging enthusiasm among attendees.

“We’ve got one leader and that’s my father in heaven,” Harper said at the start of the program.

The event also included remarks from ECTC president Juston Pate and First Baptist pastor Roderick Jones.

During his remarks, Pate touted the college scholarship programs such as the Work Ready Kentucky scholarship, which provides up to 60 credit hours of free tuition for those seeking careers in health care, manufacturing, con­struc­tion, trades, logistics, business or information technology.

“Our mission is to add value to the lives of people who then return that value to our community,” Pate said.

Performances encompassed a variety of styles and mediums, from the rousing and bluesy to the intimate and a cappella. The event also featured performances from regional dance min­i­stries, with performers from Powerhouse of Praise and Deliverance Church and St. Stephen Baptist Church.

Rochelle Moore, who served as a mistress of ceremonies for the event, said this wide variety of performances only added to the celebration’s mission.

“What that lets me know is the method may have changed how we praise God, but the message is still the same,” she said.

This year’s theme was “Feeling the Love at ECTC.” The word “love” in the title is an acrostic, standing for leadership, opportunity, value and education.

“Feel the love,” Jones said to attendees during his remarks. “All of you who are here from different churches and different places, we have come to sing praises onto God.”

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1746 or

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