A Brief History Of TGMA
On January 20th, 1979 a southern gospel concert was held at the Grassfield Ruritan Hall in Chesapeake featuring several local gospel groups. Mr. Oliver Downs was in attendance and felt that there was a need for local groups to work together to more effectively promote gospel music in the Tidewater area. After discussing this with several groups, they agreed to meet and discuss ways to advance southern gospel music locally. A meeting was held February 23rd, 1979 with representatives from five groups attending. They scheduled a meeting on March 13th, 1979 at J. C. Spangler’s home at which time officers were elected, a format was discussed and a name was chosen.
Thus the Tidewater Gospel Music Association (TGMA) was born.
The original slate of officers is pictured below:
After Doyle Taylor passed away, Virginia Eason was elected president and served approximately two years, followed by Chuck Conti who served approximately one year. Then Ronnie Harris was elected president and served approximately four years until March 10th, 1987. Cliff Branch was then elected president and served twenty-four years. Walter Gay was elected in 2011 and has recently been followed by Karan Smith as president.
There have been many groups that were part of TGMA over its many years. Some are still singing here on earth and many are singing in Heaven.
The original nine groups that formed TGMA are as follows: The Alliance Trio, The Cavaliers, The Charity Singers, The Christianaires, The Galileans, The Joy Quartet, The Londonaires, Virginia Eason and the Gospel Beacons, and The Singing Revelles.
Pinecrest Baptist Church, 209 Felton Road, Portsmouth, Virginia has been the host church for TGMA since 1987 where sings are still being held the first Saturday night of each month.