Lisa Knowles and The Brown Singers Headline Festival Honoring Thomas A Dorsey

Written by: Gregory Gay

Thomas Dorsey ProjectThe 2016 Thomas A. Dorsey Birthplace Festival encompasses 2 full days of music in the city that welcomed the birth of the Father of Gospel Music.  Thomas A. Dorsey was born on July 1, 1899 in Villa Rica, Georgia.  He developed a reputation as a Blues songwriter and pianist working with Ma Rainey and others before making a vow to serve the Lord with his gifts and talents.  Professor Dorsey would merge the secular with the sacred and call it Gospel music.  Composing over 400 compositions, he would see his works recorded by Elvis Presley (Peace In The Valley) and serve as the anchor of the civil rights movement. His most recognized composition, Precious Lord, Take My Hand, popularized by Mahalia Jackson was a favorite of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I’ve been around Gospel music all of my life”, says Villa Rica Mayor Shirley Marchman.  I grew up in Villa Lisa KnowlesRica, attending the church that Dr. Dorsey and his family attended, the Mount Prospect Baptist Church and Gospel Music has played a tremendous part in my life, as it has touched many people across the country and the world.  We are proud of the efforts of Professor Dorsey and grateful that we can do our part to make sure that his legacy lives on so that others may enjoy the fruit of his labor.”

The 2 day festival features Blues, Jazz and Gospel music with performances from Eric Ayers and the Thomas A.  Dorsey Birthplace Gospel Choir, Gospel music sensation and Stellar Award winners Lisa Knowles and the Brown Singers, Minister Eddie Robinson and others. The festival is free and open to the public.

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