Feb. 13, 2012
Contact: Office of Communications
Donnie McClurkin, gospel preacher and music artist, will be the special guest at Maryville College’s Voices of Praise Scholarship Concert and Worship Service, which is scheduled for 2 p.m., Sat., March 3 in the Clayton Center for the Arts.
McClurkin, who has won three Grammys and an NAACP Image Award for his work, is the senior pastor of Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, N.Y. At the March 3 event, he will minister the Word of God from the Nita Eckles West Stage inside the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre.
Tickets for the event are $25, with proceeds benefiting the establishment of an endowed scholarship for members of Voices of Praise, or “VOP” as the campus community knows the choir. Established during the 1991-1992 academic year, VOP is celebrating 20 years of teaching and performing black gospel-style music. The concert and worship service are being planned to celebrate the milestone, according to Larry Ervin ’97, VOP founder and director.
“We are also calling this a reunion because we are inviting all former VOP members back to campus to form an alumni choir that will perform during Pastor McClurkin’s service,” explained Ervin, who is also the College’s director of multicultural affairs. “We are asking them to come to a rehearsal and fellowship the night before, on March 2.”
VOP is not the only choir scheduled to perform on March 3. Three local churches are sending their gospel choirs, and college choirs from Berea, Tusculum and Tennessee Tech are sending students to sing and participate in the festivities.
Ervin is asking choirs and musicians to prepare at least three McClurkin songs: “Stand,” “Speak to My Heart” and “That’s What I Believe.”
“I believe we will have up to 300 choir members and musicians on the stage,” he said. “It is my prayer that this event becomes the largest single black gospel service in the history of Blount County.”
McClurkin will be recognized by the College and the city of Maryville during the ceremony.
“We feel so incredibly blessed to have Pastor McClurkin commit to this event,” Ervin said. “There’s nobody bigger in black gospel music. Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond and Daryl Coley are well known in black gospel music – but Donnie McClurkin is right up there with all of the top male performers in this genre.”
Ervin also pointed to McClurkin’s life story as inspirational to crowds.
“All the challenges that the Enemy put upon him – from being the victim of child molestation to receiving a cancer diagnosis as an adult – the Lord saw fit to show His favor on Pastor McClurkin’s life,” Ervin said. “That’s testimony for anyone. To sing and preach under the anointing is inspiration to any and everyone.
“Pastor McClurkin’s music is so true and on-point with life’s struggles and is unwavering in how to get past those struggles, and that’s through Jesus Christ,” Ervin continued.
Tickets are on sale now in the Clayton Center for the Arts Box Office. Call 865.981.8590 or www.claytonartscenter.com.
For information on the endowed scholarship or VOP reunion, contact Ervin at 865.981.8222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state‘s third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for its academic rigor and its focus on the liberal arts, Maryville is where students come to stretch their minds, stretch themselves and learn how to make a difference in the world. Total enrollment for the fall 2012 semester was 1,093.