HARTSVILLE, S.C. - The Gospel in the Park Series begins its 12th season on Sunday, May 5, at Hartsville’s Pride Park from 5 to 8 p.m.

With the theme of “Bringing Unity into Our Community through the Art of Great Gospel Music,” the series has brought live gospel music to the Hartsville community through outdoor concerts for 11 years now.

“The Gospel in the Park Series has grown tremendously within the past 11years,” said Barbara Carraway, founder of Gospel in the Park Series. “Giving back to our community is what it’s all about, the love, fellowship and music which is shown to everyone at each event is awesome.”

The Gospel in the Park Series is a six-month concert series that begins in May and ends in October.

“We appreciate the support of our wonderful sponsors and supporters,” Carraway said. “This event could not happen without them.”

But Gospel in the Park does not limit itself to concerts. Each year in August, Gospel in the Park gives out school supplies along with sponsors to area school students.

In 2018, the series hosted its first Community Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Pride Park, giving perishable food items and toys to local families.

During the month of February the concert series offers an annual Black History Program.

Each season, Gospel in the Park draws concert-goers from throughout the Pee Dee region, the Midlands and even North Carolina.

Live entertainment at the May 5 concert will be provided by the award-winning Trinity Inspirational Choir of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Goose Creek. The choir’s first CD was released in May of 2015 and released again in July 2016. 

Over the years the choir has been selected by the community to represent the Lowcountry as one of nine finalists choirs for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 McDonald’s Choir Showcase, according to the choir’s promotional bio.

The choir’s single “I Came to Tell You” went viral on the internet. The choir has a national audience and has appeared on cable television with radio and television host Bobby Jones, executive producer of several cable television gospel music programs.

Music will also be provided by the Darlington High School Gospel Choir, The Amazing Chon Jackson of Hartsville, Daffney and New Bethel Choir of Bishopville, the talented Trenten Pickens of Timmonsville, the Ambassadors of God of Charlotte and more.

“Get ready to praise God through songs,” Carraway said.

“This year we will add a Community Health Fair, Art in the Community and more, making our neighborhood a better and safer place to live in and enjoy,” Carraway said.

Non-profit organizations, including Darlington County First Steps, Darlington County Community Action Agency (Head Start), Man to Man, the S.C. Cancer Alliance and the Hartsville Branch of the NAACP will be on hand to provide information about the services they offer to the community, Carraway said. 

A devotional service will be led by Pastor Rico Newkirk and the Kay Branch Missionary Baptist Church Family.

The concert is free and open to the public. Pride Park is located at 630 S. Sixth Street. “Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and an open heart,” Carraway said. For more information call Carraway 843-409-5241.