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by Joby Brown
For New Pittsburgh Courier

Phillip Carter, winner of two Stellar Awards in 2010, will conduct a Gospel music workshop at Triumph Baptist Church in Sewickley, August 17-18.


Carter, who was awarded for his “Songs From The Storm” CD project, is president of the Independent Gospel Artists Alliance Conference, which teaches independent artists from across the nation how to effectively operate in the Gospel music industry. Carter records on his own SOV (Sounds Of Victory) label, which has several independent artists on board. The workshop/clinic will conclude with a concert at Robert Morris University’s Maxie Hall featuring Carter, his group, SOV and the workshop choir. There is no charge, but there is a suggested donation of $5. He is excited about coming to the Pittsburgh area, “Pittsburgh is a great city, one I remember as a beautiful city. I plan to make more trips to Pittsburgh in the future, I’m planning another workshop there soon,” he said.

Carter began playing in church at the age of nine, but said he has been a professional artist since 1997, at age 22. “I have been in the music industry fifteen years, but I have been in music ministry all my life,” he said. “The line between music ministry and the music is not a thin line, but a broad line. In the industry, there are no Christian requirements, but in music ministry there are. I think that’s a big misconception on how people conceive the music industry. The industry, where many are not saved, not Christians, is about making money.

Music ministry, however is about spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music and the way we live our lives. So there is a huge difference. If you were to rate Christian artists on how they live their lives, on their Christian lifestyles, there would be a lot less music, but that doesn’t disqualify you from being in the Gospel music industry.”

Topics of the workshop will include the Biblical significance of worship in song, prayer, intercession, relationship between pastor and the music ministry, incorporation true worship in the ministry of music, praise team development and others. One of the major topics of Carter’s workshop will be making the distinction between ministering and performing.

“That’s a huge deal,” he said. “I’ve taught that in workshops before, it’s been a real eye opener, no matter how long some ministers have been around, they’ve truly learned something from that topic. The majority of us, myself included, at one point or another, has been guilty of performing or showcasing more than ministering.”

Carter, married and a father of two, was born, raised and is based in the Washington, D.C., area, which like Pittsburgh, is enduring a proliferation of violence among Black youths, elaborated on the role of music ministry in addressing this problem,

“We influence a lot of youth through music. By exposing them to more positive messages in our music, by taking some of the avenues that they use and by spreading the Gospel through those same avenues really can make an impact if we’re willing to go into those avenues.”

Carter said that there are two aspects going on between older generations and youth.

“We’re either fearful or we don’t understand,” he said. “We tend to shun what we don’t understand, so we have to first understand what is going on with our youth, then we can address the needs of our youth through our music, and through foundations and camps. We can reach them by using the avenues they (the youth) have already set forth and use them to spread the Gospel to them.”

Leslie Davis, Minister of Music at Triumph is very excited about hosting the clinic.

“We have done several workshops over the past 5-6 years with Glenn Freeman, a member of the workshop’s planning team at churches in Aliquippa and Steuben­ville, Ohio,” she said.

“Turnout had decreased, so he suggested we have one at Triumph. We decided to roll with it and let God run with it at Triumph, and here we are: we are excited to have it here. Sewickley is a more central location, and is a place that is accessible to people from Beaver County, Allegheny County and Ohio.”

Carter is the sole clinician, and will present ideas on blending, harmonies, breathing and other aspects of singing, ministering and writing, he said. Carter will also give insight to aspiring independent artists on how to get their music recorded and produced without paying the high costs associated with dealing with so-called major labels. Between 150 and 200 participants are expected. The workshop will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17, consisting of seminars, demonstrations and rehearsal for the concert at Robert Morris. Saturday’s, Aug. 18, schedule will begin at 8 a.m. with breakfast, followed by morning sessions, lunch, afternoon sessions, a final rehearsal and the concert at 7 p.m. Call time is at 6 p.m. for concert participants.

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