By Journalist Ms. Jones
NEWBURGH – On Saturday, February 26thHoly Temple held its 8th Annual Gospel Extravaganza. The service was held at Crossroad Assembly of God. The Amazing Grace Worship Team and The Holy Temple Praise Team lead the audience in worship. The Extravaganza was organized by Deshon and headlined by National Recording Artist Kelontae Gavin.
“So, every February… we throw a concert… We’ve been doing this for eight years… Usually we just work with people locally, but this time I felt like we should go big and go hard… We decided we’d branch out and get Kelontae to come help us celebrate… We usually have it at Holy Temple… But, we know that Kelontae has a big fan base. So, we felt like we needed a bigger venue. And Crossroads… was very generous,” said Deshon who normally just sings with The Holy Temple Praise Team, but sang this year as a solo artist and plans to release her new single, “All of Me,” in the near future.“[I’ve been singing by myself] since July of last year. I finally took that leap to try something new. But, I didn’t leave my Holy Temple [Praise Team]. I love them.”
The Extravaganza was hosted by Pastor Robert “RD” McLymore, Sr. He is the senior pastor of Life Restoration Church.
“It’s great that I’m a part of something that is so big… It’s an awesome experience… I think this is something that is needed in this area,” said Pastor McLymore who has emceed several times in the past. “That’s great that… [it] coincided with Black History [Month]. We get to sing about these songs, the trials, the tribulations, but also the victories… [Gospel music] tells the story of what… our forefathers… [have] been through.”
Pastor Mike Flowerz showed up and showed out with his performance. He lit up the stage with energy and at one point even jumped off of it! He recently changed his name to Mike the Chaplain.
“When it comes to the pandemic… a lot of us were going through crises and that was around the time when I actually was becoming certified to be an actual chaplain… What a chaplain is, basically, we deal with the crises of the world… But, the way God really turned my heart was to understand that he’s calling me to help people in their crisis… So, now not only am I musically trying to portray that, but also in my actual life… I’m actually a chaplain for my community… The chaplain just deals with being present in the midst of chaos,” said Mike the Chaplain who was nominated for 4 Voices of Gospel Music Awards (VOGMA) in the categories of New Artist of the Year, Gospel Hip-Hop Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Male Artist of the Year. “[VOGMA has] been a real support to the independent artistry throughout the world… being able to really showcase the other talents that [don’t] get… the main platform. They’ve been around for maybe over two decades, supporting up and coming artists… before they actually hit the Stellars and the Grammys… Kelontae Gavin… did his thing last year at the VOGMA.”
Gavin stayed in the sanctuary for every artist before him. He sang, praised, worshipped, and danced from the front row. You could tell that he was raised in the church.
“I tell people all the time… quartets, choirs, that was my root… So, I’m super grateful for that… The traditional, I have that. I call myself a bridge. I know my anointing and grace is to be a bridge builder. So, I can sing grandma’s song, but I can take your grandson and catch him and he’ll be like, ‘Oh, this is cool, too!’” said 22-year-old Gavin who was discovered through a 2014 viral video of him singing to the lunch lady at school. “I was 15 years old in my high school cafeteria. I was going through my lunch line and the cafeteria worker asked me to sing a song… I was known to be the little church choir singing boy… I just started belting out‘ I Won’t Complain’… She records it. Posted it to Facebook. In a matter of days to weeks my life totally changed. My manager Marquis Boone of Marquis Boone Enterprises picks it up, literally like, ‘Yo, who’s this kid… that’s… singing this song like crazy?’ He finds us, signs me, and it literally has been history since then.”
Gavin is “in the lab.” He’s working on some new music.
“I’m super excited about new music… New sound. New wave, but still the same foundation. Just singing about Jesus to see people’s lives changed. So, I’ve always been on the contemporary praise and worship, but we’re taking some turns and we’re doing some different things like I would say a contemporary, Christian, urban sound mixed with a traditional, regional smack it all together and see how it comes [out]. So, I am young enough to venture out and try new things… I’m all about longevity. I want people to know my name 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now, not just to be a one-hit wonder,” said Gavin.