WRAL-TV’s Historic Gospel Music Program Dons a “Crown” for 75 Years This Sunday

Spiritual Awakening

The cast of Raleigh Little Theatre’s “Crowns” stopped by WRAL-TV’s Studio A on Monday, August 14, 2017, to tape an upcoming episode of the 75th anniversary season of the locally produced WRAL gospel program “Spiritual Awakening.”

Spiritual Awakening, the longest running locally produced WRAL program, is celebrating its 75th year. WRAL-TV Local Production Director Phyllis Parish came up with a gem of an idea for this Sunday’s broadcast.  What better way to celebrate your Diamond Anniversary than to pair up with another Triangle institution, the Raleigh Little Theatre?

RLT is currently in rehearsals for Crowns, a musical which uses the hats African-American women wear in different occasions – like church, funerals, flirting, etc. – and what the traditions of wearing those hats represents.

The gospel-style music in the play seemed a perfect fit for WRAL-TV’s Sunday morning series.

Spiritual Awakening is an award-winning, half-hour, gospel music program produced locally by WRAL-TV. Each Sunday morning, local, national and/or international artists perform inspiring gospel music and provide positive messages for our viewers.  It is the longest running local gospel music program in the Southeast.

Spiritual Awakening has a long history with WRAL, first appearing on WRAL radio in the 1940’s with host Sister Mabel Gary. Gary served as choir director at the St. Paul AME Zion Church and frequently had her own choir in to sing. The show broadcast on the radio, on WRAL-AM, on Sunday evenings. At the time there was no such thing as a black radio station, and WRAL broke barriers by having an African-American program on its airwaves.

Spiritual Awakening moved to television shortly after WRAL-TV went on the air in 1956. The show now includes a bevy of performers of all races, has even experimented with spiritual dance, and now is branching out to theatre for the first time with Crowns.

Former WRAL-TV Associate Producer Dona Anderson took the helm of WRAL-TV’s Sunday morning gospel music program in 1991. Even after retiring from the Big 5 in 2009, she remained as Producer of Spiritual Awakening, guiding with her vision and love of gospel music.

Spiritual AwakeningAnderson and her team tape the weekly broadcasts on Monday evenings in WRAL-TV’s Studio A.  They welcomed the Crowns cast on Monday, August 14, 2017, in preparation for this Sunday’s program.

Get a sneak preview of the music while watching a jewel of Triangle history.  Tune in to WRAL-TV this Sunday, August 20, at 6am or to FOX 50 at 8am to see Spiritual Awakening feature the RLT cast of Crowns.

Crowns begins its run at the Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cantey V. Sutton Theatre on Friday, August 25, and concludes Saturday, September 10.  Find out more:  https://raleighlittletheatre.org/shows/crowns/

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Phyllis Parish for these capcom photos.

Comments are closed.