Many memorable events have been associated with the Maple Leaf Festival over the years and on Wednesday night another one came into focus ... or, to be more precise, sang into focus.
The Carthage Ministerial Alliance, as it has done for a number of decades, presented its portion of the festival, the gospel sing, at the Carthage R-9 Auditorium.
Everything from choirs to duets were featured with singers from 10 different churches represented.
Organizer and master of ceremonies Matthew Roberts, pastor at First Presbyterian Church, introduced Carthage gospel singers from First Baptist, Grand Avenue Church of God, Good Shepherd Lutheran, St. Ann’s Catholic, Grace Episcopal, Grace Point Assembly of God, Carthage Nazarene, First Christian, Faith Life Worship Center and Salem Country Church from the Red Oak II Community.
Roberts said the amount of groups participating has been pretty consistently the same since he became involved with the event eight years ago, adding that most of those years have been standing room only.
Not only does the gospel sing give an added element to the Maple Leaf Festival but it also serves as the only fund-raising project of the year for CMA.
Free-will offerings are taken with all the funds used for a variety of ministerial alliance events. The biggest use of the money goes toward gasoline vouchers, which help people, often referred by the Carthage Police Department, to get gas for their vehicles.
Other work done by CMA includes serving as host for the National Day of Prayer each May, hosting a lunch for Carthage teachers and assisting with Carthage High School Baccalaureate services.
The ministerial alliance also helps out with special needs sometimes, such as providing funds for a Carthage woman to build a house last year. Even though, Roberts said, there was a lot of community involvement in that, it still helped to drain the CMA budget. He added that high gas prices also added to the problem.
“We were never out of money but we did struggle at times,” Roberts said. “We are in pretty good shape now although we are not able to a lot of extra stuff."