Northampton banquet very well done

Published 6:01 pm Saturday, June 27, 2009

The group is named Captured Heart and its oldest member is 15.

Jessica is 15, Amanda is 13 and Emily is 10. They are the daughters of Adam and Julie King.

They sing gospel music and if you ever have a chance to hear them and miss it, you’ve cheated yourself.

The group performed Thursday night at the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet. When they finished their last number, I rose to my feet with the rest of their audience to give them a more than deserved standing ovation.

Usually when I do that, I do it grudgingly. I think audiences universally are too generous with that accolade and, by being so, they diminish its meaning. I generally go ahead and join the crowd, but I usually don’t do it because I really mean it.

Thursday night I did. Thursday night, I was one of the first to my feet.

The group’s last number was the children’s song we all sang growing up, “Jesus Loves Me.” But when Captured Heart did it, it became far, far more than the song we all know.

One of the things that cannot be accomplished with the printed word is an adequate description of really good music. Right now that’s a real handicap. About the best I can do is urge you to watch for this group and avail yourself of the opportunity to hear them.

Thursday night’s event in Jackson was very well done. Judy Collier, the Northampton Chamber’s executive director, put together a really first class evening.

Art and Cindy Watson’s business, Watson Builders, was honored as the chamber’s Business of the Year and anybody who knows Art and Cindy would certainly agree with that choice.

Conway was recognized as the Municipality of the Year, with Conway Mayor Brian Bolton accepting that honor.

And longtime board member Bill Little was recognized for his service to the board.

Marshall Cherry, of the Roanoke Electric Cooperative, was the outgoing chamber president. I kidded Marshall after the event, telling him I see him at every event I go to. And that’s true. He is literally at everything.

The incoming president is Gene St. Claire. I didn’t know Gene before the banquet, but Sherry and I wound up sitting with him during dinner. He’s a class act and the chamber will be well served in having chosen him.

State Senator Ed Jones and State Representative Michael Wray both spoke briefly at the banquet, and they both talked about how tough times are.

Their tone was somehow out of tune with the rest of the banquet.

As Cherry talked about the chamber’s year, he spoke of a successful golf tournament, about the chamber’s having developed a strategic plan, about the chamber’s staging events to help new teachers acclimate, about the chamber’s having staged a mock commissioners meeting for students with a spirited debate on school uniforms, and, perhaps most noteworthy of all, of the chamber’s membership having grown by 10 percent during the year.

As a visitor to Northampton County – though I certainly did not feel like a visitor Thursday night – I left that banquet with the sense that there are some really good things happening there, that Northampton is a county on the move, a county with strong leadership and a great attitude.

David Sullens is president of Roanoke-Chowan Publications LLC and publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and the Gates County Index.