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A Day of Gospel Music in West Tennessee at Mason’s Zodiac Park

Black baseball fields were tremendously important in rural Black communities into the early 1970s. Every community had baseball teams and softball teams, but the ballfields were also places where picnics were held and where fife and drum bands and blues guitarists performed. Mason, Tennessee’s Black community ballfield still exists, and is named Zodiac Park after the Zodiac A’s, the community softball team whose home field it was. The Zodiac A’s retired from playing a few years ago, but the field has received several upgrades, which include a small stage and a larger stage, making it a perfect venue for live music events and parties.

On Saturday June 3, Zodiac Park was the scene of a large outdoor gospel music gathering and revival, which featured a number of performers from West Tennessee. Although the hot weather kept crowds down somewhat, those who attended heard fabulous performers like Brianna Hines from Memphis, Sister Olga “Peaches” Armstrong and Vonda Peete from Jackson, Tennessee. The church choirs from Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church and St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church all performed, as well as an amazing quartet of kids from Mason known as the Brown Four. In addition to the performers, the Mason Fire Department was at the park, allowing kids to see their fire truck and giving information about fire and hot weather safety.

The show was closed out by Mason’s much-loved Holy Nightingales, a traditional-style quartet that has been performing in the area for more than thirty years. Although they have a couple of self-produced compact discs, peculiarly this excellent and long-standing group has never recorded commercially. Their foot-stomping close was the appropriate ending to a wonderful and amazing day in Mason.

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