The Mississippi Mass Choir

From The Mississippi Mass Choir Website:

Serving God Through Song” is the motto and the mission of The Mississippi Mass Choir. Although striving to succeed in the gospel music industry, the choir’s purpose is to help establish the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Since its formation in 1988, the choir has won numerous honors and awards for its contributions to gospel music. The group has traveled throughout the United States, toured Japan and appeared in Nassau, the Bahamas.

After wrestling with the idea of forming a mass choir, Frank Williams, a member of The Jackson Southernaires and an executive in the gospel music division of Malaco Records, decided to form The Mississippi Mass Choir. First, he got the record company’s support. Then he began calling on Mississippi talents like David R. Curry Jr., who became the choir’s music director. Having the foundation laid, open auditions were held and more than 100 voices from across the state came together to form The Mississippi Mass Choir. After months of rehearsals, the choir recorded their first album and video The Mississippi Mass Choir Live on October 29, 1988.

In the spring of 1989, five weeks after their debut album was released, Billboard magazine certified it as the Number 1 Spiritual album in the country. The album stayed on the Billboard charts for a consecutive 45 weeks, setting a new record for gospel recordings. At the 9th annual James Cleveland GMWA Awards, the Mississippi Mass won the Choir of the Year-Contemporary, and Best New Artist of the Year-Traditional. They also walked away with four Stellar Awards in 1989 and nominated in several categories for the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards and Dove Awards.

The choir has ministered in song in over 40 states within the USA, including Alaska. They have traveled to Japan, Italy, Spain, Bahamas, and Greece; becoming the first gospel group to perform at the Acropolis. While attending the Umbria Jazz Gospel and Soul Easter Festival in Terni, Italy, the choir was invited to sing for Pope John Paul II at his summer residence.

In October of 2013 The Mississippi Mass Choir commemorate their 25th year Anniversary by recording their 10th “LIVE” album in front of a sold out crowd in Jackson, MS. On April 11th the choir released their new single “God’s On Your Side” featuring Sunday Best Winner Le Andria Johnson and Stan Jones.

Declaration of Dependence will be released in late May of 2014. The choir the begin a 10 city tour and 13 cities Spain tour.


  • 2010 Stellar Award “Thomas Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award
  • January, 2000 Mississippi Music Museum Hall of Fame
  • 1999 Grammy Award Grammy Nomination
  • 9th Annual James Cleveland Gospel Music Workshop of America Excellence Awards. Choir of The Year, Contemporary. Best New Artist of the Year
  • 1997 Grammy Award. Best Gospel Album by a Choir or Chorus, “I’ll See You in the Rapture”
  • 1997 Stellar Awards. Choir of the Year, ” I’ll See You in the Rapture”. Traditional Choir of the Year, “I’ll See You in the Rapture”
  • 1994 National Association of Record Merchandiser (NARM). Best Sellers Award
  • 1994 Stellar Awards,Traditional Choir of the Year,Traditional Album of the Year
  • 1994 Dove Award Nomination. Contemporary Black Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, “Your Grace and Mercy” from It Remains to be Seen
  • 1994 Soul Train Music Award,Best Gospel Artist
  • 1994 Billboard Magazine,Gospel Artist of the Year
  • 1994 3M Corporation, Innovation Award
  • 1994 Indie Award. Best Selling Gospel Album, “It Remains to be Seen”
  • 1994 Indie Award,Best Selling Gospel Album, “God Gets the Glory”
  • 1993 National Association of Record Merchandisers (NARM). Best Sellers Award
  • 1992 Billboard Magazine, Gospel Artist of the Year
  • 1992 Billboard Magazine. Gospel Record of the Year, “God Gets the Glory”
  • 1992 3M Corporation, Innovation Award
  • 1992 Stellar Awards, Traditional Choir of the Year. Choir of the Year
  • 1992 Stellar Nominations, Album of the Year. Video of the Year
  • 1991 Billboard, Album of the Year. “Rev.James Moore, Live with the Mississippi Mass Choir”
  • 1991 National Association of Record Merchandisers (NARM)
  • 1991 Best Sellers Award
  • 1991 Indie Award. Best Selling Gospel Album, “The Mississippi Mass Choir, Live!”
  • 1990 Billboard Special Achievement Award. Recognizing debut album at #1, 45 consecutive weeks.
  • 1990 Billboard Magazine. Gospel Record of the Year, “The Mississippi Mass Choir Live!”
  • 1990 Stellar Award. Album of the Year, “I’m Yours Lord”
  • 1990 Billboard Magazine Gospel Artist of the Year
  • 1989 Stellar Awards Choir of the Year. Album of the Year. Best New Artist. Best Gospel Video
  • 1989 Stellar Nomination Song of the Year, “Near the Cross”


Peavey Electronics

Driven by an unmatched legacy of innovation and a total dedication to quality and reliability, Peavey Electronics embodies the pursuit of perfection in music and audio. It’s our unifying spirit. It’s proven. And it continues today.


For nearly five decades, Peavey has blazed its own path toward musical perfection. Founded by Hartley Peavey in 1965 as a one-man shop, today Peavey Electronics Corporation is one of the largest makers and suppliers of musical instruments, amplifiers and professional audio systems in the world—distributing more than 2,000 products to more than 130 countries.

Hartley has famously said, “In order to be better, by definition you must be different.” What makes Peavey different is a commitment to approaching business with a unique vision, from product design to distribution to being the largest independently owned manufacturer in the business. His quest has led to more than 180 patents and innovations in the way we hear and play music.

Hartley Peavey is not only the visionary, lead engineer and chief executive, but also the lynchpin that connects a rich history to a bright future. And his founding principles of quality, reliability and innovation are still the focus of engineering and manufacturing operations that span continents and languages, customs and cultures.

Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts

From The Temple Theater Website: By the early 1920s, the Meridian membership of the Hamasa Shrine had outgrown their building and wanted a larger facility that would not only accommodate their needs for the various meetings and ceremonies they conducted – but also as a multi-purpose facility to serve the community. Architect Emile Weil was engaged to design the building – as he was already well known for his grand designs. Mr. Weil delivered a plan that met the Shrine’s expectations – and perhaps even more. Construction began in 1923 – with the Grand Ballroom being completed in November 1924. The Shrine moved in and conducted it’s meetings and ceremonies there while the rest of the building was being completed.

The building today is much the same as originally built -exterior in Moorish Revival style with the interior featuring Byzantine motif decorations with exceptional attention to details. Being built on a corner allowed each part of the building to enjoy it’s own street access – the theater facing onto 8th Street; while the ballroom is accessible from 24th Avenue. The theater’s construction was completed some months later – taking it’s place as a truly grand facility that rivaled any in the nation – In fact when completed in 1928 – the Temple’s stage was second in size only to the Roxy Theater in New York. However – for the first few months after completion – the only entertainment available were the occasional traveling show and wrestling matches.

In 1927 the Hamasa Shrine struck a deal with the Saenger Theater chain that would begin the process of allowing the Temple to fulfill it’s potential. Signing a lease/management contract made the Saenger brothers of New Orleans responsible for bringing movies and other entertainment to the Temple Theater for the next 40 years. As part of their “upgrades” made to the theater, a 3 manual 8 rank Robert Morton Theater Pipe Organ was installed to accompany the silent movies of the time. Even though the silent era didn’t last much longer, the organ continued to provide a lot of entertainment. During the next 40+ years thousands of movies and hundreds of famous (and not so famous) entertainers would grace the Temple with some of the finest entertainment available anywhere in the world.

In 1973 the Hamasa Shrine undertook a general restoration project which ranged from repairing damaged plaster, cleaning and painting, reupholstering the seats and replacing the carpets. Since then and until recently – the Temple Theater has seen only limited use, and only nominal maintenance – and the building was put up for sale.

In February 2009, a deal was struck between the Shriners and a semi-retired business man from Dallas. Roger Smith stepped forward – and has purchased the entire facility – Theater and Ballroom – and has committed to not only bringing the Temple back to it’s former splendor, but to create and present a rich and full calendar of events and entertainment.

Y’All May Think We Talk Funny

Mississippi, Believe It!™ is a public service campaign designed to inform and educate the citizens of Mississippi, as well as the rest of the country, about the wonderful people, aspects and facts associated with the state of Mississippi.

The Mississippi, Believe It!™ Campaign was designed by The Cirlot Agency, a Mississippi-based, full-service, marketing, public relations and corporate communications firm. They are known throughout the nation as one of the top three advertising agencies in the defense industry, boasting such clients as Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to name a few. The Agency, which is celebrating its 24th year in business this year, created the communication pieces as a gift to Mississippi in an effort to thank the state for supporting its business for over two decades.

Click to download the pdf!

B. B. King

From The Official B.B. King Website: His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 86, he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don’t look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can’t get enough of him.

BBKingFor more than half a century, Riley B. King – better known as B.B. King – has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. He was born September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, and would sometimes play in as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his music career. Memphis was where every important musician of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where every style of African American music could be found. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues.

B.B.’s first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program on KWEM out of West Memphis. This led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and later to a ten-minute spot on black-staffed and managed Memphis radio station WDIA. “King’s Spot,” became so popular, it was expanded and became the “Sepia Swing Club.” Soon B.B. needed a catchy radio name. What started out as Beale Street Blues Boy was shortened to Blues Boy King, and eventually B.B. King.

In the mid-1950s, while B.B. was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, a few fans became unruly. Two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall. B.B. raced outdoors to safety with everyone else, then realized that he left his beloved $30 acoustic guitar inside, so he rushed back inside the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death. When he later found out that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille, he decided to give the name to his guitar to remind him never to do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. Ever since, each one of B.B.’s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille.

Soon after his number one hit, “Three O’Clock Blues,” B.B. began touring nationally. In 1956, B.B. and his band played an astonishing 342 one-night stands. From the chitlin circuit with its small-town cafes, juke joints, and country dance halls to rock palaces, symphony concert halls, universities, resort hotels and amphitheaters, nationally and internationally, B.B. has become the most renowned blues musician of the past 40 years.

Over the years, B.B. has developed one of the world’s most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarist’s vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck. B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound. In B.B.’s words, “When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”

In 1968, B.B. played at the Newport Folk Festival and at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West on bills with the hottest contemporary rock artists of the day who idolized B.B. and helped to introduce him to a young white audience. In “69, B.B. was chosen by the Rolling Stones to open 18 American concerts for them; Ike and Tina Turner also played on 18 shows.

B.B. was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He received NARAS’ Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1987, and has received honorary doctorates from Tougaloo(MS) College in 1973; Yale University in 1977; Berklee College of Music in 1982; Rhodes College of Memphis in 1990; Mississippi Valley State University in 2002 and Brown University in 2007. In 1992, he received the National Award of Distinction from the University of Mississippi.

In 1991, B.B. King’s Blues Club opened on Beale Street in Memphis, and in 1994, a second club was launched at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles. A third club in New York City’s Times Square opened in June 2000 and most recently two clubs opened at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut in January 2002. In 1996, the CD-Rom On The Road With B.B. King: An Interactive Autobiography was released to rave reviews. Also in 1996, B.B.’s autobiography, “Blues All Around Me” (written with David Ritz for Avon Books) was published. In a similar vein, Doubleday published “The Arrival of B.B. King” by Charles Sawyer, in 1980.

B.B. continues to tour extensively, averaging over 250 concerts per year around the world. Classics such as “Payin’ The Cost To Be The Boss,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” How Blue Can You Get,” “Everyday I Have The Blues,” and “Why I Sing The Blues” are concert (and fan) staples. Over the years, the Grammy Award-winner has had two #1 R&B hits, 1951′s “Three O’Clock Blues,” and 1952′s “You Don’t Know Me,” and four #2 R&B hits, 1953′s “Please Love Me,” 1954′s “You Upset Me Baby,” 1960′s “Sweet Sixteen, Part I,” and 1966′s “Don’t Answer The Door, Part I.” B.B.’s most popular crossover hit, 1970′s “The Thrill Is Gone,” went to #15 pop.

Robert Johnson

robert-johnsonFrom the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation: One hundred years ago, a boy-child was born in Mississippi – a dirt-poor, African-American who would grow up, learn to sing and play the blues, and eventually achieve worldwide renown. In the decades after his death, he has become known as the King of the Delta Blues Singers, his music expanding in influence to the point that rock stars of the greatest magnitude – the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers – all sing his praise and have recorded his songs.

That boy-child was Robert Johnson, an itinerant blues singer and guitarist who lived from 1911 to 1938. He recorded 29 songs between 1936 and ‘37 for the American Record Corporation, which released eleven 78rpm records on their Vocalion label during Johnson¹s lifetime, and one after his death.

Most of these tunes have attained canonical status, and are now considered enduring anthems of the genre: “Cross Road Blues,” “Love In Vain,” “Hellhound On My Trail,” “I Believe I¹ll Dust My Broom,” “Walking Blues,” “Sweet Home Chicago.”

Like many bluesmen of his day, Johnson plied his craft on street corners and in jook joints, ever rambling and ever lonely – and writing songs that romanticized that existence. But Johnson accomplished this with such an unprecedented intensity, marrying his starkly expressive vocals with a guitar mastery, that his music has endured long after the heyday of country blues and his own short life.

Never had the hardships of the world been transformed into such a poetic height; never had the blues plumbed such an emotional depth. Johnson took the intense loneliness, terrors and tortuous lifestyle that came with being an African-American in the South during the Great Depression, and transformed that specific and very personal experience into music of universal relevance and global reach. “You want to know how good the blues can get?” Keith Richards once asked, answering his own question: “Well, this is it.” Eric Clapton put it more plainly: “I have never found anything more deeply soulful than Robert Johnson.”

The power of Johnson’s music has been amplified over the years by the fact that so little about him is known and what little biographical information we now have only revealed itself at an almost glacial pace. Myths surrounding his life took over: that he was a country boy turned ladies’ man; that he only achieved his uncanny musical mastery after selling his soul to the devil. Even the tragedy of his death seemed to grow to mythic proportion: being poisoned by a jealous boyfriend then taking three days to expire, even as the legendary talent scout John Hammond was searching him out to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

In 1990, Sony Legacy produced and released the 2-CD box set Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings to widespread critical acclaim and, for a country blues reissue, unprecedented sales. The Complete Recordings proved the existence of a potential market for music from the deepest reaches of Sony¹s catalog, especially if buoyed by a strong story with mainstream appeal. Johnson¹s legend continues to attract an ever-widening audience, with no sign of abating. If, in today¹s world of hip-hop and heavy metal, a person knows of only one country blues artist, odds are it is Robert Johnson.

Elvis Presley

PresleyPromo1954From Wikipedia: Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer, musician, and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”.

Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, when he started to work with Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who was to manage the singer for more than two decades. Presley’s first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel”, released in January 1956, was a number-one hit in the US. He became the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, made him enormously popular—and controversial.

In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender. In 1958, he was drafted into military service: He resumed his recording career two years later, producing some of his most commercially successful work before devoting much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and their accompanying soundtrack albums, most of which were critically derided. In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed televised comeback special, Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley was featured in the first globally broadcast concert via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii. Several years of prescription drug abuse severely deteriorated his health, and he died in 1977 at the age of 42.

Presley is one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with estimated album sales of around 600 million units worldwide.[9] He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.


Jimmie Rodgers

jimmie_rodgersFrom The Jimmie Rodgers Museum: Jimmie Rodgers was born on September 8, 1897, in Meridian, Mississippi, the youngest of three sons. His mother died when he was very young, and Jimmie spent the next few years with relatives in southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama. He eventually returned home to live with his father, Aaron Rodgers, a maintenance foreman on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, who had settled with a new wife in Meridian.

Jimmie’s affinity for entertaining and the road developed early. By age 13, he had twice organized traveling shows, only to be brought home by his father. The first time, he stole some of his sister-in-law’s bedsheets to make a crude tent. Upon his return to Meridian, he paid for the sheets with money he had made from his show! For the second trip, he charged to his father (without his father’s knowing) an expensive canvas tent. Not long after that, Mr. Rodgers found Jimmie his first railroad job, as water boy on his father’s gang. A few years later, Jimmie became a brakeman on the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad, a position secured by his oldest brother, Walter, a conductor on the line.

In 1924, at the age of 27, Jimmie contracted tuberculosis. The disease temporarily ended his railroad career but gave him the chance to get back to his first love, entertainment. He organized a traveling road show and performed across the Southeast until a cyclone destroyed his tent. He returned to railroad work as a brakeman on the east coast of Florida, but eventually his illness cost him his job. He relocated to Tucson, Arizona (thinking the dry climate might lessen the effects of his TB), and worked as a switchman for the Southern Pacific. The job lasted less than a year, and the Rodgers family (which by then included wife Carrie and daughter Anita) settled back in Meridian in 1927.

Later that year, Jimmie traveled to Asheville, North Carolina. In February 1927, Asheville’s first radio station, WWNC, went on the air, and on April 18, Jimmie and Otis Kuykendall performed for the first time on the station. A few months later, Jimmie recruited a group from Tennessee called the Tenneva Ramblers and they secured a weekly slot on the station as the Jimmie Rodgers Entertainers. A review in The Asheville Times remarked that “Jimmy [sic] Rodgers and his entertainers managed … with a type of music quite different than the station’s usual material, but a kind that finds a cordial reception from a large audience.” Another columnist said, “Whoever that fellow is, he either is a winner or he is going to be.”

The Tenneva Ramblers hailed from Bristol, Tennessee, and in late July of 1927, Rodgers’ bandmates got word that Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company was coming to Bristol to record area musicians. Rodgers and the group arrived in Bristol on August 3 and auditioned for Peer, who agreed to record them the next day. That night the band argued about how it would be billed on the record, which led Jimmie to declare, “All right … I’ll just sing one myself.”

On August 4, Jimmie Rodgers recorded two songs: “Sleep, Baby, Sleep” and “The Soldier’s Sweetheart.” For the recordings, he received $100.

The recordings were released on October 7, 1927, to modest success. In November of that year, Peer recorded Rodgers again at the Victor studios in Camden, New Jersey. Four songs made it out of this session: “Ben Dewberry’s Final Run,” “Mother Was a Lady,” “Away out on the Mountain” and “T for Texas.” In the next two years, “T for Texas” (released as “Blue Yodel”) sold nearly half a million copies, rocketing Rodgers into stardom.

In the next few years, Rodgers did a movie short, “The Singing Brakeman”, and made various recordings across the country. He toured the Midwest with humorist Will Rogers. On July 16, 1930, he even recorded “Blue Yodel No. 9” (also known as “Standin’ on the Corner”) with a young jazz trumpeter named Louis Armstrong, whose wife, Lillian, played piano on the track.

Rodgers’ next to last recordings were made in August 1932 in Camden, and it was clear that TB was getting the better of him. He had given up touring by then but did have a weekly radio show in San Antonio, Texas, where he’d relocated when “T for Texas” became a hit.

In 1933, Rodgers traveled to New York for recording sessions beginning May 17. He completed four songs on the first take. But there was no question that Rodgers was running out of track. When he returned to the studio after a day’s rest, he had to record sitting down and soon retreated to his hotel, hoping to regain enough energy to finish the songs he’d been rehearsing.

The recording engineer hired two session musicians to help Rodgers when he came back to the studio a few days later. Together, they recorded a few songs, including “Mississippi Delta Blues.” For his last song of the session, Jimmie recorded “Years Ago” by himself, finishing as he’d started six years earlier, just a man and his guitar. Within 36 hours, “The Father of Country Music” was dead.