Recap: Super Bowl Gospel Celebration
February 3, 2006

The Seventh Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration took place on Friday, February 3rd at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan. Legendary artists such as The Clark Sisters and The Winans participated together with Gospel greats Hezekiah Walker and Mary Mary, and special guest Patti Labelle.

GOSPELflava.com was in the house for the memorable event. The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration is the first and the only Gospel concert sanctioned by the NFL for the already jam-packed Super Bowl Weekend.

Press Conference:
At a press conference held prior to the concert event, several artists were on hand to give their input. The Winans stated “We are so honored that the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration is not only here in Detroit, but that we have been asked to share the stage with our good friends and counterparts.

Group Shot The Clark Sisters responded to the same question, with Dorinda Clark Cole stating that "we are so excited to be a part of this event, and even more excited that Jesus is up in the house tonight! It’s so fun being here with our brothers, The Winans. Growing up, we went to high school together.

Marvin Winans interjected, “Yeah, we would walk the sisters home from school every day —except Jacky, she had already graduated!

Both The Winans and The Clark Sisters were brought back together for this event, so it seemed natural to ask them how it felt to sing together again after all these years.

Marvin Winans spoke for all by stating that just because they stopped singing together, it never stopped them from being family. Both groups felt that the Gospel Super Bowl Celebration was more than enough to reunite and minister.

Sams Club, who were co-sponsors of the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, then presented both artists with bracelets and necklaces to show their gratitude for their participation.

Mary Mary took to the press conference table and let it be known what an honor it was to be on the same program as The Clark Sisters and The Winans. The duo confessed that their “first recording” (with a boom box in their rooms) was of them trying to imitate The Clark Sisters. They then gave an impromptu rendition of "What He's Done For Me". Mary Mary were presented with diamond earrings courtesy of Sams Club.

First to the stage at the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration was The Clark Sisters. When these four ladies reunite, it's a treat for all in attendance. The sisters sang several of their popular songs, including “My Redeemer Liveth”, “You Brought The Sunshine”, “Is My Living In Vain” and “Hallelujah”.

Before breaking out into a dance that would put King David to shame, Evangelist Karen Clark Sheard delivered a sermonette about the goodness of the Lord, which brought the whole auditorium to their feet. The Clark Sisters left the crowd wanting more. Fans will have no choice but to wait for their reunion concert, tentatively scheduled to be recorded live at the 2006 AIM Convention.

MC Roland Williams, of the St. Louis Rams, rushed to the stage to introduce the next performers of the evening, Mary Mary.

Hezekiah Walker"Anybody in the house love Jesus?" the sisterly duo shouted, as the live band began playing the intro to "Heaven” . The crowd went wild, so much so that there were three reprises, incuding a guest appearance by Marvin Winans.

Erica thanked the NFL for the invite, and reminded the audience that they had come to lift up the name of Jesus and shared with the crowd that she cried her last tear “Yesterday”.

After sharing a brief testimony, Mary Mary sang their hit “Yesterday” with much emotion and passion. It was evident that the crowd was moved. Several NFL players again took to the stage to share their thoughts on Who God was to them. Tommie Harris (Chicago Bears) and Michael Gaines (NC Panthers) then sang "I Won’t Complain" and "What A Mighty God We Serve", helping to keep the flow of worship moving during the program.

Detroit’s Mayor Kilpatrick and his wife came to the stage to pay tribute to the late John H Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines. Accepting on his behalf was his daughter, who thanked the city of Detroit for their continued support over the years. A beautiful plaque was presented.

Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir were up next, with a high energy set that included the hits "Power Belongs To God", "I Know A Man From Galilee" and “Lift Him Up". Minister Walker took the mic and thanked the Super Bowl for allowing his ministry to be a part of the momentous event, and then urged the crowd to love each other and treat each other right, because we didn't know when it could be our last time in the house of the Lord. The choir began to minister the song "I Need You To Survive", bringing the crowd to their feet, tears in their eyes, singing along word for word.

The Winans followed with one of their first musical appearances since the passing of their brother, Ronald Winans. Marvin, Carvin, Michael, and Daniel Winans opened up their set with a rendition of “It's Time To Make A Change”, bringing the crowd to their feet. The group then sang another crowd favorite, "The Question Is" and walked off the stage after singing "Tomorrow".

The crowd began chanting "More, More, More" and The Winans responded by coming out for an encore, singing "It Will Be All Over In The Morning”.

Headliner Patti Labelle, concluded the event with her own rendition of "Stand Up If You're on the Lord's Side". The soul legend then shared that she was working on her first-ever Gospel album (something that fans have been long waiting for). Guests slated to join her on the album include Yolanda Adams, J Moss and the "Stand Boy", as she put it, referring to Donnie McClurkin. Labelle sang “You Are My Friend” before ending her set with a beautiful rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer”.

Speaking with Mary Mary
GOSPELflava.com met up with Mary Mary backstage for a quick 'post-game' interview: GOSPELflava.com: Ladies, you look GREAT!

Mary Mary: Thank you so much. We feel we represent wholeness and beauty. And if you feel good about who you are on the inside, it will show on the outside. Mary Mary represents an urban image that looks good and respectable. We want to always let His light shine in us, because that's what matters most.

Mary Mary GOSPELflava.com: We understand you've just jumped on the Kirk Franklin Hero Tour.

Tina Campbell: Oh, we are so excited to be on it! This tour will go from city to city, showcasing local heroes who we ourselves have never met, and would never have otherwise had the chance to recognize them for their efforts, so that is something very important to us.

Erica Campbell: Definitely! The tour kicks off February 28th in Cleveland, Ohio and you can check marymary.com to find out if and when we will be in a city near you.

GOSPELflava.com: What is it like to be here participating in the annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration?

Tina Campbell: Oh, we're so honored really. We keep saying that, and we mean it. It’s just fun to come here and hang out with the NFL players and see the support they have for Mary Mary, and for God, of course. We’re here with The Clark Sisters and The Winans, so it’s like “Wow, it don't get no better than that”. And to know that the NFL players love the name of the LORD, that’s such a blessing. It’s a funny story, but I can remember our first recording, trying to imitate The Clark Sisters’ song, “What He's Done For Me”.

Erica Campbell: Right, well Tina forgot to mention that this 'first recording' was in her room with a boom box and a cassette tape!

Mary Mary: We also want to say we are excited to see Patti Labelle, and to see what shoes she has on!! (laughing). She has always been so sweet to us and treated us like family, so we are just excited all the way around about being here this Super Bowl weekend.

GOSPELflava.com: Who's going to win the Super Bowl?

Erica Campbell: Pittsburgh all the way!!!

GOSPELflava.com: What do you think, Tina?

Tina Campbell: Uhmm, sorry, I don't keep up with sports, now if you ask me about shopping, I may be able to help you! Sorry football guys, I love ya though and God bless!

The Clark Sisters

The Clark Sisters

Mary Mary

Mary Mary

Mary Mary

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recap by Steven Jones

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