Oktibbeha Co. native leads National Gospel Singing Convention

 Sturgis native and Mississippi State University graduate Crandall Woodson's love of gospel music had led him to be the President of the National Gospel Singing Convention.
By: 
MARY RUMORE
Staff Writer

Sturgis native and Mississippi State University graduate Crandall Woodson's love of gospel music had led him to be the President of the National Gospel Singing Convention.

The National Convention will be November 16 and 17 at First Baptist Church of Tucker, Georgia, near Atlanta.

Woodson said convention gospel singing is congregational singing from five new songbooks published each year. A song leader is selected, picks a song and leads the congregation and pianist, and the process continues until everyone who will direct a song has led.

Woodson said states primarily in the South hold state singing conventions each year, he served as the Georgia president prior to becoming the national president.

"Growing up in Sturgis, we went to gospel singings in Winston County and Choctaw County and parts of Oktibbeha County," Woodson said. "Gospel singings were always a really big part of our life growing up."

Woodson said Oktibbeha County will always be home to him, but he has lived near Atlanta for nearly 35 years. He has

Gospel convention songs are written in shape notes, and they are most often upbeat, lively songs. Many old favorites, like Woodson's favorite "I'll Fly Away," were introduced as convention songs.

"The shape notes were developed primarily in the rural South to help people learn to read music," Woodson said.

Woodson said it is a tremendous honor to serve as president and gives him a chance to share the music he loves with many different age groups.

"So many music writers, song writers, publishers of gospel music have president, and I'm honored to be in such elite company," Woodson said. "I see this as having a stage to help promote this beautiful music."

For those who can't make it to the National Gospel Singing Convention in Georgia, many local singing conventions still take place.

The William Golden Memorial Singing will last all day beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 25 at Victory Baptist Church on Highway 12 South near Mathiston. Dinner will be served, and singers, songwriters and musicians from across the country will be in attendance.

"William Golden is a famous writer and he was from around Eupora," Woodson said. "He wrote some great, beautiful songs like 'A Beautiful Life' and 'Before I Die.' Those were convention songs."

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