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Day of Unity ‘Show of Talent’ set to go

Heritage House Boys Choir

Cortland Collins

Triple Black Belt Academy

Once again the stage is set for the 10th Annual Day of Unity Musical/Fashion and Talent Show in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 5 p.m. at the Hazlehurst High School Auditorium.

This year’s event will be an All Show of Talent featuring and honoring talented youth and young adults of Copiah County.  


Out of town guest performers will be the First Christian Church Youth Choir from Hermanville, MS.  Rev. Robert L. Cox, Jr. is pastor.  

This dynamic choir, which consists of 14 members, is certainly no stranger to Copiah County.  They were featured at Hall’s Hill MB Church Women of Faith Ministry Program and also the Ministerial Alliance Choir Anniversary in 2008.  They have also performed at the Magnolia Camp Convention in Morton, MS.  

The choir’s director is Angela Banks and Ricardo Yates, a freshmen at Alcorn State University, is their musician.  They have been together for only three years but once you hear them, you will leave saying, WOW.


There will be in town guest performers as well.  The Choir Boys were organized in August of 2007.  Within a year, they had landed a spot to sing at St. Andrews Cathedral in Jackson, not to mention a special performance in the rotunda of the Copiah County Courthouse for the Board of Supervisors under the direction of  James Hawkins.

Hawkins holds a Master of Music degree from Jackson State University. He performed professionally as an opera singer before he dedicated his life to teaching music.  He has worked in the Jackson Public School System as choir director since 1973.  

Hawkins’ awards include:  District Choral Festivals-Superior Ratings every year since 1993; State Choral Festivals-every year since 1993, except 1999 and 2000; National and International Awards and Invitations include:  World Class Competition ratings of II in Verona, Italy in 1998, Invitation in 1999 to represent the State of Mississippi in the “American Celebration of Music” in Great Britain, performances in major cathedrals including Westminster Cathedral, several performances at Carnegie Hall in New York and the list goes on.

The choir boys range in ages from seven to fourteen. They serve as a mentoring system for young men.


Also, Triple Black Belt Academy will bring some of their students from the Crystal Springs and Hazlehurst area to put on an exhibition in martial arts.  

Their goal is to develop each individual to their fullest potential, both mentally and physically. They believe that improved self-respect, respect for others, self-confidence, mental discipline, and improved social skills are the building blocks for excellence. “Black Belt Excellence” is a way of life that can be achieved through the training of martial arts. They have three black belts that live there, hence inspiring the name of their school.


Plus there’s Cortland Collins who is a 16 year old sophomore at Hazlehurst High School, who will be a guest presenter and guest performer at Sunday’s event.  

This melodic drummer says he is blessed with the release of his documentary DVD entitled, “Cortland Collins, The Modern Day Little Drummer Boy”.  Through home videos, interviews, live performances and more, this DVD tells his story.  He hopes one day a book will be written and also a movie about his life. Cortland started playing drums when he was about 2 ½.  

He gained national attention with an appearance on the Kids “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” in New York City and the Seventh Annual Trumpet Awards in Atlanta, Ga.  He was also featured in the February 15, 1999 issues of Jet Magazine.  

One of his greatest achievements was to present to the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund a check for $1,310.00 from a fundraiser in which he donated his Little Starlight Drum Kit as the key item to be auctioned.  The proceeds went to the children of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.  Cortland loves lifting up the name of Jesus with his God-given talent.  


This amazing show of talent will feature some of the very best Copiah County has to offer.  We have a dynamic two year old drummer, a spelling bee champ, a dancer who is good enough to dance up a wall, if we let him, plus a SURPRISE category and much more.  And if that’s not enough, for the youth and young adults sitting in the audience wanting to be a part of this amazing show of talent, Day of Unity will feature “The Sixty Second Sweep”.  

Can you sweep the house in sixty seconds with your talent?  Just remember, you must KEEP IT CLEAN.  As always, there will be beautiful fashion all throughout this event.

This event as well as all of the Day of Unity events is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact: Sharlet Collins, Chairperson  (601) 940-0177; Rev. Victor Dixon, Co-chairperson (601) 894-0017; Rev. Wyatt Lewis (601) 894-5994; Steve Collins, Talent Coordinator (601) 894-3392.

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