By Marcie Gray
“While time marches on for a world in need of Jesus, you can find 11th hour using each moment for His glory.” What a great introduction on the 11th Hour website for this Southern Gospel trio from Monroe, Louisiana! In 2007, at the tender age of 16, Amber Eppinette answered the call when she and a friend formed 11th Hour. Amber was at a revival when the Lord revealed to her that she was to take her music ministry on the road. Raised in a family full of preachers and singers, it was only natural that Amber felt comfortable when called to ministry.
Two years ago, Grant Gibson, from Jasper, Alabama departed Debra Perry and Jayden’s Call to join 11th Hour as second tenor. Jaquita Lindsey completed 11th Hour by filling the alto position. Hailing from Camden, Arkansas, Jaquita was introduced to Amber by Nicole Watts Jenkins who was singing soprano for The Perrys at the time. Each member of 11th Hour brings significant vocal experience to the group, and the harmonies flow freely. Equipped with a unified mission, smooth harmony and cherished friendship, 11th Hour is blessed with a powerful ministry that spans the gap between generations.
11th Hour is gifted with a unique style, giving them a versatile approach to ministry. They are just as comfortable singing classic Southern Gospel music with friends like Greater Vision as they are leading worship for a youth camp, where they incorporate contemporary worship music into their repertoire.
Amber, Grant and Jaquita all agree that they are a very close-knit group of friends who enjoy spending time together, even when they’re on the road between dates. When asked to share a memorable moment on tour, Grant said, “We were singing at a church one night and during our introductions, a gentleman walked up onto the stage and interrupted the concert, insisting that we sing, “Have A Little Talk With Jesus.” We all just looked at each other, unsure of what was coming next, and before we knew it, the man ended up leading the entire congregation in the song.
“He was a veteran and had plenty of scars to show for it. He was pleased to share each scar with us at the product table, and if that wasn’t disturbing enough, he proceeded to pop his fake eye out right there at the table, in front of everyone standing there! When you tour 230 dates per year, you’re bound to run into some very interesting people, but that particular memory was one we will never forget!”
The group has been nominated in the Top 10 in the Singing News Fan Awards for “Favorite New Trio” for the past two years, and was awarded a Diamond Award in 2014 for “Favorite New Trio.” “It’s wonderful to be recognized by fans and friends who love your music, but it’s not the glory and fame that keeps us going when we get discouraged,” said Amber. “I’m always reminded by the Holy Spirit that this is a calling, not a job. Recently, God has shown me that when He places a call on a person’s life, He doesn’t take it away. We have a purpose to fulfill what God has set believers here to do, and even when we feel discouraged, we have to remember that our purpose and calling hasn’t changed. When we stay focused on the calling even through challenging times is when we will start seeing souls saved and hearts turned toward Him, which is confirmation that we are doing what we are called to do!”
Jaquita shared, “I’ve been asked before why I won’t sing secular music. My answer is simple. I would never use my talents for anything other than God’s glory. I was raised by a family of ministers. My parents and grandparents are both in the ministry and I’ve been singing in church since I was eight years old. I can’t imagine singing for any other reason but to use the talents God has given me to serve Him.”
“Well, the girls got all spiritual,” said Grant, “but I have something to add. This is fun! It’s a calling, most definitely. That’s where it starts and ends, but there’s a lot of fun in the process and there is nothing else I could see myself doing. We all have a purpose in life. God gives each of us abilities and talents and I believe it’s very foolish if you don’t use them for the Lord, but we just have a blast together singing and meeting new people. It’s different every time we get up on the stage.”
Greg Bentley from Crossroads Entertainment shared, “Crossroads has had the privilege of working with 11th Hour since 2012. We always do our homework before we agree to talk with anyone about a label deal, and when we started digging into the background of this talented group of young people, we knew we wanted to take the next step. Working with them – from picking songs, doing the recording sessions, radio promotions and even publishing – we have found them to be steadfast and faithful in their goal of ministering through music. Now that we are starting on our third recording with them, (Steppin’ Out released in 2012, Picture This released in 2014) we are even more convinced that Amber, Grant and Jaquita are more focused than ever on presenting 11th Hour in the best possible way.
“Obviously, many fans and industry people are seeing what we see in them, as well. Their popularity continues to grow from album-to-album. We’ve already picked some great new songs for their new Sonlite Records release that they will be tracking in August, and expect this new 2016 release to take them even farther into the hearts and homes of Gospel music followers.”
Every artist has someone they look up to and seek ministry advice from. 11th Hour is no exception. Amber said, “Karen Peck is one person who has always been there for me with open ears. She has been a huge source of encouragement and has literally watched me grow up through the years.” Grant shared that Claude Hopper has been one of the biggest influences in his ministry life. “Claude has been around the block a few times and he has a whole lot of wisdom.” For Jaquita, Kelly Bowling and Libby Perry have both had a big personal influence on her life in ministry. These strong influences come from common ground. Each one of these influences answered God’s calling on their lives and have been faithful to serve Him in ministry for many years. That same legacy is what Amber, Grant and Jaquita hope to pass on to future generations of Christian artists.
There is one song that never fails to move the hearts of those who hear it, and that is “Adam’s Fall,” recorded in 2010 by 11th Hour on their Gather Round project. The most important message 11th Hour can carry to their audience is summed up in this song and the words simply speak for themselves:
As I journeyed through His precious word,
I find where Adam fell and lost our souls,
As I turned another page, I find His blood shed,
For human race, and then I saw my own sin,
My condemnation, without Him,
Then I stood at Calvary’s place, and that’s where I found,
I saw You nailed, to the tree,
Gave Your life freely, for unworthy me
Heaven’s angels You did not call, rescued my soul,
From Adam’s fall.” – Written by Amber Eppinette (2007)
The territory is expanding for 11th Hour. Grant commented, “Within the next year, we hope to plan a trip out west and potentially overseas, as well. We are considering options and always setting new goals.” The trio is excited about traveling to new places and singing where the Lord opens a door for them to go. “Concerts are a great way to network and make friends… whether it’s a fan or another artist. We’re just regular people and always trying to make new friends,” said Grant.
The Lord’s call has been answered by three talented, young artists. They share the love of Christ with everyone they come into contact with, knowing that the return of Christ is imminent. Even their name seems to ask the question, “What are you waiting for?”
Find out more about 11th Hour by visiting their website: www.11thhourgospel.com. Look them up and help us express our appreciation to Amber, Grant and Jaquita, for taking the time to share the ministry of 11th Hour with the readers of SGN Scoops Magazine!
By Marcie Gray
First published by SGN Scoops magazine in June 2015. For current issues of SGN Scoops and more great artist features, visit the SGN Scoops mainpage.
Tags: 11th Hour, Amber Eppinette, gospel music, Grant Gibson, Jaquita Lindsey, Marcie Gray, sgn scoops, southern gospel
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Singer-Songwriter Surprises Students, Faculty and Staff During Guest Appearance
During the evening concert appearance at the school, Habedank performed familiar favorites and a few new tunes from his Welcome Home project – including his current single, “Beauty of the Blood,” a powerful song that is connecting with audiences across the country and impacting lives. “Every week, someone shares what this song has meant to their lives – either through a conversation after a concert, through social media, or email. It truly is amazing the power of a song. I am thankful God chose to bless me with this song.” It currently hold’s the #7 position on the Singing News Radio Chart.
Tags: Ben Speer, gospel music, Joseph Habedank, music, School of Music, southern gospel, Stamps Baxter School of Music
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Are you one of the many Southern Gospel fans that enjoy family groups? If so, then the Kent Curtis Family is one group that you need to hear! Kent sings with his wife Lea Anna, son Nathan and daughter Neeka. Kent Curtis pastors a church in McEwen, Tennessee, and is the lead singer, emcee and patriarch of the group. Lea Anna sings the soprano part and manages the Kent Curtis Family office. Nathan is the bass singer and soundman. Neeka fills in the alto position, manages the product and is also a budding photo-journalist, as she recently shot some video spots for SGN Scoops while attending the Singing In The Sun concert event.
We recently took the opportunity to find out more about this lovely young lady.
Rob: Tell us about Neeka Curtis. What should we know about you?
Neeka: I’m 17 years old and a junior in high school. I am homeschooled, so that makes traveling easier. My dad pastors the Open Bible Assembly church in McEwen, TN. When not busy with schooling, traveling, or church work, I enjoy styling hair and drawing Disney characters!
Rob: How long have you been singing and who do you sing with?
Neeka: I sing with my mom, dad, and brother as the Kent Curtis Family. I started singing as soon as I could talk, but joined them on stage around age five.
Rob: Tell us about traveling and singing with your family…
Neeka: We enjoy singing at various churches for concerts, revivals, and other events. Our goal is to show the love of the Lord to everyone we meet, encourage the saints, and win people to Him!
Rob: When in the road, where is your favorite place to eat?
Neeka: Chick-Fil-A. Hands down. It’s just good!
Rob: Tell me about a special moment in your singing career…
Neeka: I have many special memories, but the one that stands out the most is when we went to a Karen Peck and New River concert at a local church and I was honored to get to sing a chorus of “Four Days Late” with her. I will never forget that!
We hope you enjoyed learning more about the Kent Curtis Family and young Neeka Curtis. Please visit them on the web and on Facebook to find out more and listen to their music. Don’t be surprised if you attend one of their concerts and Neeka wants to interview you on camera for SGN Scoops! Thanks Neeka!
Kent Curtis Family on the web: www.kentcurtisfamily.com/
Kent Curtis Family on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Kent-Curtis-Family/236392803158396
Tags: Fast Five, gospel music, Kent Curtis Family, Neeka Curtis, sgn scoops, southern gospel
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Thanks for joining us for another Wacky Wednesday on SGN Scoops. Today we ask another insightful question, “What do Gospel artists like to put on their pizza?” (because we know YOU are dying to know that answer!)
SGN Scoops polled a few artists about various things and tabulated their answers. We have used this (not so great) scientific process to create today’s Wacky Wednesday Top Ten!
The number one answer for favorite toppings was, of course, pepperoni. Who gave us this answer? Chris Jenkins, Karen Peck (who cheated and also asked for pineapple! But that’s okay because we all love Karen and she can say whatever she wants!) Joseph Habedank, Michaela Brown (yes, this kitchen chef actually eats pizza!) Billy Blackwood, and Gary Casto.
Donna King and Lauren Talley only wanted cheese!
David Sutton and Greg Bentley voted for sausage.
Two out of three Booth Brothers** asked for extra tomato sauce. The other one suggested green peppers.
Phil Collingsworth Sr. likes it Hawaiian style, and asked for pineapple.
Scott Inman also cheated, and instead of suggesting just one topping, he nominated “Meat Lovers” for his favorite. But again, we all love Scotty, so we let him get away with this response.
Speaking of Inmans, Scotty’s dad Clayton had only one word in response to what his favorite pizza topping was: “YES!”
Shannon Smith thinks along the same line as Clayton when he says, “Everything except anchovies!”
Hannah Webb stole this writer’s answer when she responded, “Barbeque Chicken!”
We are sure you have come away from this feature feeling more educated about the pizza toppings enjoyed by Southern Gospel artists. Or perhaps…just hungry for pizza. If so, we have accomplished our goal.
Stay tuned for more of these indepth polls right here on SGN Scoops!
Meet today’s contestants…
|Chris Jenkins||The Kingsmen||http://kingsmenquartet.musiccitynetworks.com/|
|Clayton Inman||The Triumphant Quartet||http://www.triumphantquartet.com/|
|Lauren Talley Alvey||The Talleys||http://thetalleys.com/|
|Phil Collingsworth Sr.||The Collingsworth Family||http://www.thecollingsworthfamily.com/|
|David Sutton||The Triumphant Quartet||http://www.triumphantquartet.com/|
|Greg Bentley||Crossroads Records, Soloist||http://crossroadslabelgroup.com/|
|Gary Casto||The Tribute Quartet||http://tributequartet.com/|
|Billy Blackwood||The Blackwood Brothers Quartet||http://www.blackwoodbrothers.com/|
|Shannon Smith||Three Bridges||http://threebridgesgospel.com/|
|Michaela Brown||The Browns||http://thebrownsmusic.com/|
|Booth Brothers||The Booth Brothers||http://boothbrothers.com/|
|Scott Inman||The Triumphant Quartet||http://www.triumphantquartet.com/|
|Karen Peck||Karen Peck and New River||http://www.karenpeckandnewriver.com/|
|Donna King||Zane and Donna King||http://www.zaneanddonnaking.com/|
|Hannah Webb||The Rick Webb Family||http://rickwebbfamilymusic.com/|
**Note: The Booth Brothers each answered each question but wouldn’t say whose answer it was…therefore we are leaving it up to you, dear reader, to guess whether the pithy answer comes from Michael Booth, Ronnie Booth or Paul Lancaster!
Tags: Billy Blackwood, booth brothers, Chris Jenkins, Clayton Inman, David Sutton, Donna King, Gary Casto, gospel music, Greg Bentley, Hannah Webb, Joseph Habedank, Karen Peck, Lauren Talley, Michaela Brown, Phil Collingsworth Sr., Scott Inman, sgn scoops, Shannon Smith, southern gospel, Wacky Wednesday
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The National Quartet Convention once again hosted their Spring Break in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 16 through 18, 2015. Hundreds of eager fans filled Highview Baptist to
hear artist favorites including Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Jim Brady Trio, Greater Vision, Triumphant, Ivan Parker, Whisnants, Booth Brothers, Isaacs, Mark Trammell Quartet, Legacy Five, Tribute, Hoppers, and the Sneed Family.
In this photomontage, SGN Scoops photographer Craig Harris, gives us an exciting look at the concerts that made this a truly wonderful break from the cold, snowy winter experienced by so many across the country. Thanks to NQC for whetting our appetites for a summer full of musical events and the swiftly approaching National Quartet Convention 2015!
For more features, pictures and artist columns, read the latest edition of SGN Scoops here.
Follow the link for more great pictures! Read more »
Tags: booth brothers, Craig Harris, ernie haase and signature sound, Greater Vision, hoppers, Isaacs, ivan parker, Jim Brady Trio, legacy five, mark trammell quartet, nqc, sgn scoops, Sneed Family, Tribute, Triumphant, Whisnants
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I love to share my heart. I love to help others find the good in the bad that will certainly rage around us at times. I thoroughly love to help encourage, challenge and motivate others, and I sincerely love to share with others how great our God is at all times, even when we don’t feel it or see it. I love to get them to try to think differently about all we are walking in.
I am fairly certain there are people who often wonder: is it the real me being positive and happy, with all that they see me say and talk about on social media? So the other day, after I had posted something that I thought was uplifting and positive, someone asked me the question point blank: “Are you always positive and happy or is it a façade to masquerade your deep anger?”
I am sure they were taken back with my laughter and smile. I took a few moments to ponder the question, of course after I finished chuckling with them and then I gave them my answer, staring at them straight in the eyes! (I love it when that Jesus boldness rises up and you can look someone directly in his or her eyes and be secure in who He has called you to be). My response went something like this:
“Oh, my friend, my friend, my friend…No I am not always happy. I am not always upbeat, positive and energetic, no matter how much coffee or seeing my grandbabies I have experienced. I am not always smiling. And, I am not always in the best of moods…believe it or not. I am not nor have I ever claimed to be the most positive person or even wanted to be the Joel Osteen or whomever you might think is the most positive person out there. I am most likely just like you and the hundreds of thousand others out there who have so many questions, struggles, fears, hurts, difficulties and such. I have my own set of daily issues that involve my wife’s health, my family, fear of the future, insecurities and the list goes on and on and on.
“I too struggle with rejection and my own questioning of God and all of the daily why’s and how come’s. I get impatient and I don’t always like to smile. I think you get the picture. My friend, I for the most part, well I really am like you with all of the questions and the struggles.
“But here is where I think I may be a little different: I have learned at some point along the journey, that it’s okay to hurt, its okay to struggle and to ask questions, yet in the midst of all of that, it’s also okay for me to strive to maintain being positive and I love to strive to smile through the pain. I assure you it doesn’t always happen for me, and there are times that I am nothing but a crybaby and that’s okay too. It’s good to get it all out there.
“But I truly do understand that our words and actions can speak life or death to those around us, so for me – yes me, not everyone has to do it – but for me, I, Dusty Wells want to choose to share hope, life, forgiveness, love, encouragement, strength, staying positive, smiling, my story to all who I can by the strength of being positive and hopefully uplifting in all I do and say.
“No, I don’t always get it right, but I can honestly say: I try and it’s my heart. I learned a long time ago that life is not fair, but God is always faithful and good and kind and just, and that is what I want others to see”
So there was my answer and there will be my answer…
The person looked at me with tears in their eyes, they hugged me and then they said, “I want to try to be a little more positive today.” I hugged them back, and I responded, “I will be there to cheer you along the way and give you a smile. After all, we are all fellow sojourners and we have a story to tell.”
Peace my friends. Remember you are so loved and so valuable. Speak life!
By Dusty Wells
Originally published by SGN Scoops digital magazine in May 2015. For current issues, visit the SGN Scoops main page.
Tags: Christian life, Dusty Wells, honesty, sgn scoops
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By Tina Wakefield
There is no way to describe the impact a mother has on her family whether good or otherwise, a mother’s presence is felt and missed. I recently spoke with one of Gospel music’s mothers, Kelly Bowling, on life with her family on and off the road.
Kelly Bowling is no stranger to traveling with family, singing and ministering across this country as she traveled with The Crabb Family for many years. She grew up, met and married Mike Bowling all while traveling with her mother and family in a bus across many highways and states.
Kelly recalls traveling with her mother, Kathy Crabb Hannah, in those early days of married life. “Hope Bowling was the first grandchild that traveled with us. It was very special having my mother there, to help with Hope and playing dress up with my mother’s make-up in the back of the bus. Watching my mother create a close bond with her was very special to me.”
Kathy Hannah still boards the Bowling bus from time to time and travels with Kelly, Mike and the girls. Kelly says, “Not too much has changed, my mother helps me with the kids and she gets to be the fun one now with less pressure on her. I have a greater respect and appreciation for my mother now that I am the mother of this group and responsible for day- to-day requirements of this ministry.”
Traveling with three kids is not an easy life and there are many sacrifices and obstacles to overcome. Confined in the space of a tour bus for extended time there is no privacy and the lack of space can be a challenge. Kelly says that for a mother, you worry about your kids missing so much that other children get to experience. “For a ministry family [the children miss the] Friday night outings that their friends go on, weekends at the park, at a playground or a movie. You feel guilty at times that your children are on a bus traveling to the next church to minister. I want my girls to not feel deprived of these things but appreciate a life of ministry, of reaching others in need of salvation, hope and encouragement. This life is a calling and I have built a lifetime of relationships on the road which I still have, and I can see that for my girls.”
To help the Bowling girls with the life on the road, Kelly plans special outings with each daughter. “Being on the bus together we don’t get a lot of one on one time with each other, so when we are home I’ll take them out at times alone to shop, or a movie, or just time to spend with each one alone.” On the bus the kids are usually on their Ipad, Ipod, teasing their cousin who travels with them or flipping from bunk to bunk. Time on the bus is family time with everyone just being silly, joking, and playing around.
In October of 2014, when an opportunity opened for a singer with the Bowlings, thoughts about how to fill the space presented a challenge. Then the unexpected happened: Hope Bowling, the oldest of Mike and Kelly’s three girls, decided that she would like to fill that position. Kelly says, “I didn’t see that coming. I had hoped that she would one day, and I knew she could. We were thrilled.” The joke between Mike and Kelly is, “She works cheap!” Hope Bowling fills the position well and is a very talented and anointed young lady.
I asked Hope why she decided to join her family in ministry and she replied, “I love to see the faces of the people and how the lyrics of the songs touch them. I was excited when my parents presented the opportunity to me.” At 15, she will be one of the young artists to watch and see what God has in store. We could literally take the scripture from Proverbs 22:6 that says, “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Mike and Kelly Bowling are truly training up their girls in a ministry/Christ-centered life of giving of themselves. This lifestyle did not come by chance because the same could be said of Kathy Hannah who instilled the same lifestyle of ministry in Kelly and her family in their early lives.
This thought brings about the scripture from Proverbs 31 that states, “Her children arise up and call her blessed.” Hope states that she admires her mom for her anointing and hard work ethic, and says, “she is someone I look up to.” I asked about her grandmother Kathy and she said that her go-get-it attitude, work ethic, and genuine honesty with people, are traits she admires.
If Hope Bowling joining the family ministry is any sign of what is to come, then Gracie and Katelanne Bowling are worthy of our attention and prayers. I asked 11-year-old Katelanne what is the best and worst thing about traveling with her family. She says that she loves going to new places but the downside is that she doesn’t get to spend time with her friends as much. Katelanne is not sure about what she wants for her future yet but loves to sing with her sisters, especially the song, “It Is Well With My Soul.” She looks up to her mom for lots of reasons but says that cooking is not one of them, which this brought lots of laughter from all those listening. The best dish would have to be Kelly’s lasagna and the worst would be spaghetti. Katelanne would love for everyone to know that her grandmother Kathy really likes to talk to people and loves Facebook. I asked her if there was anything she would change on their family bus and she replied, “Yes, my x-box and a private room.”
Gracie is the youngest of the three girls and perhaps the most vocal. Maybe you have seen the Gracie Show that Kathy Hannah posts on Facebook. If the Gracie Show is a taste of what is to come, we all better pay attention to her. When I asked Gracie what she wanted everyone to know about her mother she says, “She is a really nice person and really pretty.” Gracie says about her grandmother, “She is not afraid to say what she thinks.”
Gracie says that traveling is great because they get to visit lots of different places, her favorite of which is the beach. She says that she gets to go on cruises, which she enjoys. She is not sure what she would like to pursue in life yet but would love to be on Broadway. She would love to be able to travel to New York City to ride the subway and see the tall buildings.
Who knows what the future holds for the Bowling girls as they travel and minister with the family. One thing is for sure; after speaking with Kelly is that they are instilled with the Christ–centered life and the value of sowing into others. Proverbs 31:31 says of a mother, “Give her the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.” Kathy Crabb Hannah sowed into the life of her daughter Kelly Bowling, and Kelly is sowing into the life of her daughters Hope, Katelanne, and Gracie.
“Even though the accolades are nice and appreciated, the focus must always be on God at all times,” says Kelly. “Mike and I have the same priority and values. God must be the focus and center of all that we accomplish.”
A life on the road is not an easy task but one that Kelly Bowling has embraced with her family. Her girls will debut their first CD this year, The Bowling Sisters and Kelly is now reaching out to speak at ladies’ events along with Kathy who is currently conducting ladies’ retreats. I am very excited to watch this family as God unfolds His plan in their lives. I am convinced that this is a family who strives to hear from God and accomplish what He puts in their spirit with total honesty and conviction in a time when compromise is an easy path to follow. I encourage you to contact The Bowling Family at www.bowlingsonline.com
By Tina Wakefield
In-Concert Photographs by Candi Combs
First published by SGN Scoops in May 2015. For current issues of SGN Scoops, visit the SGN Scoops mainpage.
Tags: Christian life, Christian Mothers, gospel music, Kathy Crabb Hannah, Kelly Bowling, Mothers, The Bowling Family, The Bowling Sisters
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Dalton, GA (July 13,2015) – SGN Scoops was thrilled to be a part of the
second annual Gerald Crabb Gospel Music Fest held in the North Georgia Trade and Convention Center this past weekend. from Thursday night through Sunday, fans were treated to great music, amazing vocalists, uplifting worship and wonderful fellowship.
Artists appearing included Gerald Crabb, his sons Jason and Adam, and his daughter Terah Crabb Penhollow. Wilburn and Wilburn, Brian Free and Assurance, The Freemans and The Hinson Family also delighted the audience. Read more »
Tags: Adam Crabb, Brian Free & Assurance, Freemans, gerald crabb, Gerald Crabb Gospel Fest 2015, Jason Crabb, Terah Crabb Penhollow, The Hinson Family, wilburn and wilburn
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By Paige Givens
Southern Gospel music has been blessed with an abundance of amazing quartets, whose sound and talent keep people coming back for more. There is something about quartet singing that goes beyond simple enjoyment for both the singer and the listener. Gospel quartets have the ability to take the songs of old, songs of our Christian heritage, as well as new and inspired songs, and wrap them tightly in beautiful harmonies before sending them straight to the heart.
In this industry full of wonderful quartets, there are some that especially stand out, and Triumphant Quartet is one such group. Since they formed in 2003, Triumphant Quartet has enjoyed an exquisite harmony both on and off stage. They demonstrate the joys of living in harmony with one another and with the Lord.
The group actually began as singers for Sunday services in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Tenor David Sutton recalls, “Eric Bennett, Jeff Stice, and I had been volunteering at the Louise Mandrell Theater in Pigeon Forge, singing at her Sunday morning worship services that she held for tourists. She had the vision of having a gospel quartet at her theater doing morning shows and a Sunday night show. She approached us about the opportunity of forming a group to do this. To be honest with you, when she did, we all said, ‘We are happy and not interested but we will keep it in our prayers.’ A little time passed and she asked again. This went on for several weeks and finally we agreed to sit down and talk with her about what her vision was. Because of her vision and lots of prayer, this group was formed, and God continues to bless.”
David goes on to explain how the group was named Triumphant Quartet. “The name Triumphant came from three fans. When the group formed we were known as Integrity. After a little over a year of singing, we received a letter from a well-known business that had the same name. They were in our same genre of music and felt because of the years they had used the name, there was a conflict of interest, so we decided to take a negative and turn it into a positive. We got with the management team at the theater and started coming up with ideas. We came up with the idea to let the fans pick our name. We started doing national marketing asking fans to submit names. We had over 3500 names submitted. We narrowed it down to our top five and went to Trademark attorneys to search the names out. Our top pick was Triumphant. We had three different people submit this name. We invited all three people to our show one Sunday night at the theater and presented them all with gifts.”
Tags: Clayton Inman, David Sutton, Eric Bennett, gospel music, Paige Givens, scotty Inman, sgn scoops, southern gospel, Triumphant
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“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
~~Alfred Tennyson In Memoriam (1849)
For many people, New Year’s Eve means a time to party or to go out with friends and celebrate. My New Year’s Eves were usually spent in a different way. When I was young, I would attend a service at a nearby church where local groups would sing out the old and sing in the new. As I grew older, and was able to drive, I started to attend New Year’s Eve concerts featuring professional groups. One of the biggest sings was promoted by Cecil “Sonny” Simmons and held at the Charleston (WV) Municipal Auditorium. Over the years I was able to see many of the top groups.
One of those concerts that stands out, was held December 31, 1976. This particular concert was one that I recorded on my portable tape recorder so I can relive it via the recording. There were a number of reasons that this concert was memorable to me. The lineup was very diverse and along with the national groups, some regional groups were also featured. So let me give a recap of this concert.
The concert opened with “Sonny” Simmons introducing the Telestials. The Telestials at this time were featuring their lead singer Jim Wood on “One Way Flight” and “Here They Come”. Both of these were well received by the capacity crowd.
The next group was a Charleston-based group, the Calvarymen Quartet. The Calvarymen had recently undergone a couple of changes. Squire Parsons had left to join the Kingsmen Quartet and Conrad Cook had left to form his family group, the Calvary Echoes. The Calvarymen still used songs written by Parsons and Cook, including “When My Feet Touch the Streets of Gold”, “There Is Joy In Serving Jesus” and “I Get A Little Heaven.”
Naomi and the Segos were the next group to hit the stage. They sang “Thank God I Am Free” and “Learning to Lean.” The highlight, at least for me, was when they sang “The Dearest Friend” and James Sego gave a moving testimony. He told how he had been delivered from alcoholism and also described his recent stroke. He admitted his voice wasn’t what it used to be, but he was blessed to be able sing at all.
The group to follow the Segos was Conrad Cook and the Calvary Echoes. A lot of fans were happy to see Conrad since he had previously been a favorite with the Calvarymen. Conrad’s daughter, Robin, was featured on “I Came On Business For The King” and Conrad’s unique style was manifested on “Sweet Holy Spirit.” The crowd definitely loved this group.
Willie Wynn and the Tennesseans were the next group. Willie was featured on “My Soul Has Been Set Free” and “I Am A Seeker.” Ron Hutchins, formerly of the Inspirations and LeFevres, did a masterful job on “He Is So Precious To Me.” The other selections were fast, hard-driving songs that had the crowd clapping along.
Roger Horne began his professional career as tenor for the Gospel Harmony Boys and later joined the Cathedral Quartet. He also spent some time with the Scenicland Quartet. However, on this night, he was joined by his wife Becky and Eddie Burns as the Roger Horne Trio. They sang: “He Kept On Loving Me,” and “I Can Feel The Spirit,” both written by Roger Horne.
The group that most fans were waiting to see was the Kingsmen. Many would be seeing Squire Parsons for the first time with this group. The Kingsmen began with “Beyond the Clouds,” and followed that with “I’d Rather Be An Old Time Christian.” Squire was featured on “The Land of Beulah.” They also did “When I Wake Up To Sleep No More,” and “Gloryroad.” Their set concluded the first part of the concert.
Each group came back after intermission and sang a couple of songs. A couple of songs from the second part really stood out. One was Willie Wynn being featured on “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and the other was the Kingsmen singing and encoring “I’ve Made A Covenant.”
There were other songs besides those I mentioned, but I hope this will give you a taste of what this concert was like.
By Dean Adkins
First published by the SGN Scoops magazine in January 2015. For more features, see the latest issue on the SGN Scoops mainpage.
Tags: Conrad Cook and the Calvary Echoes, Dean Adkins, gospel music, Gospel music history, sgn scoops, the Calvarymen, The Kingsmen, The Segos, Willie Wynn and the Tennesseans
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