Quinton Gibson, lead guitarist for platinum-selling country artist Darius Rucker and April Cushman, the New England Music Awards’ Country Act of the Year in 2022, are winging their way to Charlotte to celebrate the accomplishments of Southminster’s Greater Enrichment Program (GEP) students. The hard-working elementary-aged students participate in a monthly intergenerational reading program with residents of Southminster. 

The celebratory country performance at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6th in the Great Rooms at Southminster will be enriched by a Holiday Toy Drive. Gifts are donated by Southminster staff through the South Charlotte retirement community’s Life Enrichment and Philanthropy program, wrapped by residents, and put under a tree in the front lobby for the kids to take home after the concert. As Susanne Shaw, Communications and Public Relations Manager at Southminster described the joy of the event last year, “If the Grinch would have seen the kids’ faces as they walked out our door with their presents, his heart would have grown three more sizes.” 

After-School Enrichment

Since 1975, GEP has served more than 10,000 of our community’s at-risk children by providing a quality after-school enrichment program and hosting a summer learning academy. GEP’s licensed after-school program operates at three sites in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with services, including transportation and healthy snacks. By providing support to the whole family at no cost, GEP helps children gain knowledge, confidence, and character to achieve their personal best in school and in their community.

Intergenerational Learning and Joy

Students in the GEP program visit Southminster once a month and spend an hour reading one-to-one with residents, many of whom are former educators. After its inception in 2018, the reading program between GEP and Southminster has grown to include special events, gifts and donations to students, and direct financial support to help keep GEP summer programs operational in Charlotte’s most at-risk schools.

According to GEP Executive Director Bronica Glover, GEP provides a safe learning environment with cultural opportunities students might not otherwise have. “The support of foundations and communities like Southminster that make uplifting gatherings like this holiday concert possible really broaden our kids’ horizons and add dimension to their lives,” Glover said. Learn more at www.gepinc.org

About Quinton Gibson:
Quinton is lead guitarist for Platinum selling Country artist Darius Rucker, performing such chart toppers as “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”, “Comeback Song”, “Wagon Wheel” – and even becoming revered in Country Music circles for his guitar solo on the Prince classic “Purple Rain.” Quinton has performed on such nationally televised shows as the “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Good Morning America,” “Today Show,” “CBS This Morning,” “Fox And Friends,” “American Idol,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “CMA Awards,” “ACM Awards,” “SUPER BOWL’s LII and LIV“ and many others.

About April Cushman:
Recently named the 2022 New England Music Awards’ Country Act of the Year, April has opened for artists like Rodney Atkins, and Lonestar, while making appearances at shows  for Darius Rucker, Sugarland and many other artists. She has written songs with Vibe Publishing Artist Steve Smentek, as well as hit writer, Marty Dodson in preparation for her next album, set to release early summer of 2023. Her debut album, “The Long Haul” was released in November 2021 and reached #16 on the iTunes Country Album charts; the record was produced by Nashville Grammy Nominated Producer, Colt Capperrune. April’s passion and love for country music started at age five when she sang “Key of G” in the children’s choir at her church.