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MAGMA concerts highlight annual convention

The Mid-America Gospel Music Association will return to the Centene Center for its annual music convention for a three night run on Nov. 3 – 5.

The three nights of spiritual celebration will highlight talented performers from across Southeast Missouri and the St. Louis area.

“It is an amazing evening of music,” said Alan Berry, who performs with his brothers, The Berry Brothers, and is a member of MAGMA. “Coming back this year, we have a fan favorite, The Lesters. They have had several songs in the charts over the year. We will also have Crimson Gold. They have that Oak Ridge Boys sound to them.”

According to Berry, in addition to top-notch gospel groups who will be appearing at the convention, MAGMA will also featuring bluegrass music as well.

“Two of the bluegrass groups we have appearing are from the area,” Berry said. “The Barry Jones Family are from Ironton, and another well-known group in the bluegrass community are The Punches.”

In addition to the groups that will be playing, concert goers will also be able to enjoy several local soloist as well, including Marilyn Berry and the renowned singer-songwriter Janice Crow.

“Janice has come quite a bit in previous years,” Berry said. “This past year, her song, ‘I Still Serve and Amazing God,’ hit number one on the gospel charts. It was recorded by The Triumphant Quartet and was nominated for a Dove Award.”

According to Berry, the annual convention has a strong following and for the past few years, the event brings followers from as far as Illinois and Arkansas who make a weekend out of it.

“We get tour buses with seniors from St. Louis and Illinois for the weekend,” Berry said. “They enjoy their weekend at the concerts and taking in the sights. It has become a getaway for many of them.”

The draw doesn’t seem to surprise Berry. According to him, many of the people who come to see The Berry Brothers in other venues mention they saw the group perform at the Farmington show.

The Farmington-based gospel association does have certain criteria groups must make before they are asked to join the other performers.

“We have very high expectations,” Berry said. “In order to sing, you have to meet a certain criterion, such as having a professional recording, being an active member of MAGMA, and perform so many dates in a year. You must also must be in the gospel, country gospel or bluegrass genre.”

In addition to the concerts, MAGMA will also be holding a Fellowship Barbecue Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 at First Baptist Church of Farmington with artist from the concert. Cost of the all-you-can-eat luncheon is $15.

“It really is a lot of fun,” Berry said. “After dinner, many of the artist show up and we have a mini-concert.”

Admission to the concerts is $10 for a reserved seat ticket with children 12-years-old and younger free. Tickets are available at the Farmington Civic Center. The schedule for the show is 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 and 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 and 6 p.m. on Nov. 5.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at

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