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Icon Destinations Launches with Slate of Trips to Holy Land featuring Lauded and Loved Personalities

Written by Staff on June 21, 2019 – 6:25 pm -

Icon Destinations

Icon Destinations

Once In a Lifetime Trips feature Rebecca St. James, Avalon, Jason Crabb, Russ Taff, Selah, Jaci Velasquez and more!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 21, 2019) – Icon Destinations, a subsidiary of Da Silva International, was announced today by Rui Da Silva. Da Silva is president of the company, a multi-national and multi-faceted sports and entertainment/media company with main offices in Los Angeles, Santo Domingo and Edmonton.

Icon DestinationsDa Silva started Icon Destinations to give people the ultimate experience of going to The Holy Land with their favorite Christian artist/personality. Da Silva says: “Icon Destinations was created as an “ultimate bucket-list” destination company and I have found that most Christians list visiting the Holy Land at the top of their bucket list. So, what better way to do that than going there and also being able to watch their favorite Christian artist perform live? It’s an experience like none other! The other reason we started this was that for many Christians, visiting the Holy Land was a challenge financially. I feel we have succeeded in pricing the trips in a way that allow more Christians to be able to make these trips without having to lower the quality of any of the amenities. We are excited!”

Also announced today was the opening of the Nashville, TN office exclusively to handle Icon Destinations. Kevin Stevens, a veteran artist/tour manager, has been appointed as Vice President of Icon Group and will helm the Nashville team. Over the last 26 years, Kevin Stevens has become one of the most experienced and successful artist/tour managers in Christian music, handling the careers and tours of Michael English, Avalon, Kathy Troccoli, Natalie Grant, Sandi Patty, 4Him, and many more.

Icon DestinationsStevens comments: “I’m always looking for great new opportunities that I can be part of. Icon Destinations has allowed me to use my 20 plus years of relationships in the industry in a new and exciting way. I love what I do and this will only add to the already fulfilling moments I’ve had.”

Additional staff for the Nashville-based operations was also announced. Frank Shelton Jr. is joining the team as the Director of Speaking Engagements. Having worked for two decades on Capitol Hill in some of the highest levels of government, Frank brings a unique perspective along with a wealth of experience and wisdom to the team. Among his career highlights are: member of Congress in the House Leadership, bi-partisan figured on the floor of the United States Senate, aide to the Governor of Maryland, among other positions. He serves on the advisory board with professional athletes in the fight against human trafficking and has served as the International Evangelism Chairman for the 2012 Olympics outreach in London England and so much more! Frank says: “I am thrilled to serve with Icon Destinations assisting individuals to “walk in Jesus’ footsteps” in the Holy Land.”

Icon DestinationsAlso joining the Nashville-based team is Derek Simonis as Social Media Director and Rebecca Grice as Marketing Manager.

Initial trips announced include Rebecca St. James, Avalon, Jason Crabb, Russ Taff, Selah, Jaci Velasquez with more to be announced soon.

Icon Destinations – experience a trip you’ll never forget!

Connect with Icon Destinations:
Phone: 1-800-679-9201
www.icondestinations.com
www.facebook.com/Icon.Destinations
www.instagram.com/icon.destinations
www.twitter.com/IconDestination


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The King’s Heralds: Nine decades and going Strong

Written by Staff on June 14, 2019 – 4:24 pm -

King's Heralds

King’s Heralds

Way back in 1927, four young college men from Keene, Texas, including Ray Turner and brothers Lewis, Waldo and Wesley Crane, got together to form a quartet. All four of them were nursing students at Southwestern (University). During that time money was scarce, and they didn’t have enough funds to purchase any musical instruments, so they began singing a cappella.

 

Being from Texas, they used the name “Lone Star Four” and soon appeared on a radio program on KFPL from Waco, Texas. Later, they joined Voice of Prophecy, a radio ministry that stretches across the U. S. Rumor has it that the radio program promoted a renaming contest, from which was selected the name, the King’s Heralds. They now have the honor of being the longest gospel singing group still active on the road today.

King's HeraldsIn 1938, the King’s Heralds begin traveling overseas, and throughout the years they have performed in over 50 countries and recorded over 100 albums in 32 different languages. There have been a little over 30 men in the group at different times. They have a rich blend, harmony and balance in their a cappella style, and have added music to their sound, singing wherever God leads them. The members are now Don Scroggs on first tenor, Joel Borg on second tenor, John Watkins on baritone and Jeff Pearles on bass.


Scroggs began his career with the King’s Heralds in 1983. While he was in high school, a friend invited him to a concert. He knew Jerry Patton who was the lead tenor in the group and later this acquainted led him to become involved with the group. Scroggs has now been with the quartet for over 35 years and shows no sign of slowing down. After seeing all of the U.S. through travels with the group, Scroggs says he would love to live in Cozur d’Alene, Idaho, and vacations there when he can.

 

When asked what his favorite experience has been while singing with the King’s Heralds, the tenor recalls, “(I) loved (seeing) the faces of people in China, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Central America when we (would) sing in their language.”

 

Borg got involved in gospel music when he was three years old, while singing in church. He sang with Lone Star Four along with Scroggs and also with the group “Still Water.” The length of time he has been singing with Scroggs undoubtedly is one of the secrets behind the group’s beautifully smooth a cappella.

 

King's Heralds“My dad and my grandfather and their love for music and ministry influenced me most in music,” says Borg, but confesses, “I get embarrassed when I forget the words to a song.” The vocalist is married and loves his awesome wife and anything she cooks. He also is a video graphics editor and a photographer, and states Romans 8:28 is his favorite bible verse. Sadly, Borg will be leaving the group at the end of April 2019. His replacement will be Mike Ringwelski.

 

Smooth bass singer, Jeff Pearles, came from a musical family and he started singing gospel music because of their encouragement. Before joining the King’s Heralds, Pearles sang with the Fox Brothers, Palmetto State Quartet and Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet.   

 

“I got started with the King’s Heralds when out of the blue they called and asked if I would be interested in singing with them,” Pearles recalls. “At that time I was with the Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet.”

Jeff Pearles of the King's Heralds

Jeff Pearles

Pearles looked up to another great bass vocalist. “Other than my dad, George Younce probably influenced me most. He was such a wonderful singer and great (communicator), he made it all look so easy.”

 

This quartet-man loves writing songs, and has written or co-written several throughout the years. The King’s Heralds and the Hoppers have recorded his tunes. He has seen a lot of stages, but he says a career highlight was singing in the Philippines to over 30,000 people.


King's HeraldsThe group’s baritone specialist, John Watkins, sang his first song, “In The Temple,” at age five at his church, but says he sang very little gospel music prior to joining the quartet.

 

“I was asked to fill in with the King’s Heralds last summer and sang my first concert in Colorado,” notes Watkins. “They were pleased and asked me to join the group. I was embarrassed when I forgot a line on the last song of my first tour.” Watkins no doubt endeavors to prevent that particular source of embarrassment from happening again.

 

The youngest man in the group loves to sing happy music that inspires those listening to worship. “My career has been pastoring and music mostly for teens, and God has been my biggest influence,” Watkins states. Perhaps as a result of being around teenagers, the baritone loves pizza but is not particular which restaurant he eats at. His smooth voice is often featured during a King’s Heralds’ set.

 

Wisconsin native Mark Ringwelski will be joining the group in May. Mark is retiring from Bellin Health where he has served as medical director, and is married to Susan Slikkers. He is no stranger to music as he has been involved with Doctors in Recital, as a vocalist and instrumentalist. He will be singing second tenor for the group. Once Ringwelski is on board, the King’s Heralds plan to begin working on a new recording, sharing the new sound with their audience.

 

King's Heralds King’s Heralds fans and friends certainly have a lot to look forward to with the revised lineup and album. After 90 years, the quartet has gained a significant following of music lovers across the globe. The group’s fresh look will enable them to reach even more with their message of love for the King of Kings. For a concert information, visit their website at khqofficial.com or to book, contact Don Scroggs at (805) 907- 6016.

By Robert York

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in April 2019.

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David Staton says, “Thank You, Dad!”

Written by Staff on June 7, 2019 – 6:03 pm -

David Staton asks: Who are you?

David Staton

The Story behind “Thank You Dad” By David Staton

I have been blessed through the years to write songs for just about every well-known southern gospel artist in our field. Not long ago, I was being interviewed and the interviewer asked me if I had a favorite song that I had written. I didn’t even hesitate when I told him which one was my favorite.  I told him that it was a song that most folks have never heard. Since then, I have added it to my live concerts because the reaction is always the same. I was so fortunate to be raised by Godly parents.  I am one of five kids and we have always been very close. We grew up singing together and had parents that not only poured the word of God into us but showed us through their lives how God loves us unconditionally.

In 2004, I received a phone call from my mom that stopped me in my tracks. She told me that my dad had been showing signs of being confused and disoriented and they were going to the hospital to have a brain scan done. Well, we all began to pray and a few hours later, my mom called again. She told me that the scan had shown a tumor. They said it was operable, but my dad was 71 years old and at his age, the chances of it being a late stage of cancer were likely.

They scheduled surgery for a few days later. I remember telling Mike LeFevre and the guys that I needed some time off. I went to Ohio for dad’s surgery. The day before the surgery, my mom told all of us kids that dad wanted to write each of us a letter telling us how proud he was of us and how much he loved us.

I suggested that rather than dad writing a letter to all of us, that we should write a letter to him telling him how much we love him and how thankful we are that God placed us in his care and allowed us to be raised by such Godly parents. My dad made it through the surgery and we were told that the tumor was stage four (the most advanced) and more than likely, another tumor would come back and be very aggressive.

I watched my dad who had always been so strong, become incredibly weak as he fought so hard to beat the odds. My dad lived for almost one year to the day of his surgery and passed away on September 10, 2005. During that last year, I went to visit my mom and dad as much as I possibly could.

I remember sitting in the living room where us kids were raised, next to my dad’s hospital bed and talking to him and my mom. I would ask questions that most kids never ask their parents. How did you meet? Who introduced you? What did you like to do before five kids came into your life and messed everything up?

At night, I would write down everything I had learned about my parents and began working on this song. I guess the reason this song is so special to me is that from an emotional standpoint, it is the life story of my dad. From a writer’s perspective, the song is both chronologically and structurally sound.

There is a story about each one of the lines in the song, so I’m going to share the lyric first and then, I will tell you a little bit about each line that made me include it and why it’s so special. I’d like to wish every dad a Happy Father’s Day and I hope you enjoy the stories that inspired this song. To hear the song, go to www.davidstaton.com.

THANK YOU, DAD

Verse 1:
He was born in 1932
Where the coal was black and the grass was blue
That Kentucky home’s still standing there today
The way they grew up was hard to believe
They were lucky to have shoes on their feet
The only thing they did harder than work was pray

Verse 2:
Then on a sunny day in fifty-five
He met the lady that changed his life
They vowed to share a life and his last name
Not much hope for a family
The doctor said kids just couldn’t be
But I’m one of five that sure would like to say

Chorus:
Thank you, Dad,
For giving us all more than we needed
For teaching us all to trust in Jesus
When others tried to make us fall, you taught us how to stand
Thank you, Dad,
For bustin’ our butts when we were bad
For holding us close when we were sad
And when we got older for being the best friend that we’ve ever had
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you, dad.

Bridge:
Now when it comes to wisdom, no one has any more than you
I just hope my kids look at me the way I look at you

Thank you, Dad,
For teaching us all how to live our lives
For showing us boys how to love our wives
There’s nothing we could say or do to ever pay you back
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you, Dad,

Here is the breakdown and story behind the lyric:

THANK YOU, DAD

Verse 1:
He was born in 1932
Where the coal was black and the grass was blue
That Kentucky home’s still standing there today
(My dad was born during the depression in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky.  The government declared that it was the poorest area of the country.  When we were young, my dad would tell us stories about how poor they were and the things they had to do to live.  They were so extreme that we always thought he was exaggerating, but when we got older, he took us to the old house where he and 8 siblings were raised and we saw for ourselves just how poor they were.)
The way they grew up was hard to believe
They were lucky to have shoes on their feet
(This line is especially personal.  Each one of the kids got two pair of shoes a year.  One pair was to work in the fields and the other was to wear to school and church.  When my dad was very young, he had a younger brother named Tracy Wallace Staton.  While he was still an infant, he became very ill and died.  My dad had outgrown his shoes and they were too poor to buy him another pair, so he had to wear a pair of his sister’s shoes to the funeral.  My dad did not cry very often, but every time he ever shared that story with anyone, he would cry.)
The only thing they did harder than work was pray
(My dad’s parents were Christians and raised all of their kids in church, so prayer was not just a casual thing they did before a meal, it was a means of survival.  I saw how far they had to carry buckets of water from the stream to their house just to take a bath and how far they had to walk to school every day in the blazing heat or in snow.  It is hard to imagine how they ever survived.)

Verse 2:
Then on a sunny day in fifty-five
He met the lady that changed his life
They vowed to share a life and his last name
(My dad and much of his family moved north to try to find work and escape their surroundings in order to eventually have a better life.  Shortly after moving to Hamilton, OH, one of my dad’s brothers and his wife introduced him to my mom.  After I finished the song, my mom said to me, “You know, it may have been 1956 when we met.”  I told her it was too late because 1955 was a rhyming line in the song and we had already recorded it.  They married in 1958.)
Not much hope for a family
The doctor said kids just couldn’t be
But I’m one of five that sure would like to say
(When my mom was a young girl, she had rheumatic fever, and the doctors told her that she would never be able to have kids.  Well God had other plans because they ended up having five kids.  I’m the middle child and I have two older brothers and a younger sister and brother.  My parents took us to gospel concerts and we grew up singing together.)

Chorus:
Thank you, Dad,
For giving us all more than we needed
(My dad never made a lot of money.  He worked so hard and there was a period of time that he was unemployed.  I can remember him doing work and different jobs and I couldn’t believe how hard he would work. Looking back, I’m amazed at how God provided for us and exceeded our basic needs.)
For teaching us all to trust in Jesus
(Mom and dad raised us in church and we were all saved at a very young age.  My dad was a Sunday school teacher in our church and he would study the Bible every night before he went to bed.  My mom told us that when my dad was first saved, he got a bible and he and my mom would stay up reading and studying until they would fall asleep.  They pursued knowledge and wisdom through the scriptures and then they poured it into us kids.)
When others tried to make us fall, you taught us how to stand
(I could tell you countless stories of how mom and dad taught us to stand up for ourselves and for each other when we were kids.  If we didn’t defend ourselves and each other when we were in school, we would be in trouble when we got home.)
Thank you, Dad,
For bustin’ our butts when we were bad
(This line is self-explanatory. We all knew that dad’s belt had another purpose than just holding his pants up.  We all still have signs of how those spankings affected us.  Respect for others, self-control, thankfulness, kindness and other crazy, unheard of things are still side effects from those spankings.)
For holding us close when we were sad
(Right alongside of the discipline was unconditional love.  When we were sad, hurting or discouraged, it was mom and dad who made us feel loved and who gave us the self-confidence to reach for our dreams.)
And when we got older for being the best friend that we’ve ever had
(I can’t tell you the times after we were grown that each one of us kids would call my dad for advice.  There isn’t a day goes by when we all wish we could pick up the phone or go see him.)
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you, Dad

Bridge:
Now when it comes to wisdom, no one has any more than you
I just hope my kids look at me the way I look at you
(With kids of my own, I can’t tell you how many times I stop and think about how my dad would have handled a certain situation.  I really try to follow his example of being a dad.  I sure hope my kids look back and think of me like I think of my dad.)

Thank you, Dad
For teaching us all how to live our lives
For showing us boys how to love our wives
(I’ve heard it said that the best thing a dad can do for their kids is to love their mom.  My dad really loved my mom and it showed in what he did for her and how he treated her.  That’s one of those behaviors that you don’t realize who is teaching you or how they’re teaching you until much later in life.)
There’s nothing we could say or do to ever pay you back
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you, Dad
(We always knew that mom and dad loved us.  They told us and more importantly, they showed us.  We told our mom and dad that we loved them over and over again, but after my dad went to be with the Lord, I thought of so many times I should have told him when I didn’t.  If you have a mom and dad that are still with you, go hug them and thank them for loving you.)

This was the last song we played at my dad’s funeral.  After moving to Hamilton, OH, my dad worked for one company and retired after 35 years.  At my dad’s visitation, over 1500 people filed through the funeral home to pay their last respects.  I heard a great preacher say once that you will know the people who you have really made a mark on because they will cry at your funeral.  Well that day, there were a lot of tears shed because so many would miss my dad.   But through the tears, there was also celebrating because we know where my dad is today!

By David Staton

Listen below to “Thank You Dad”

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Beyond the Song: Riley Harrison Clark sings, “Glory to Glory”

Written by Staff on June 7, 2019 – 6:15 am -

Riley Harrison Clark. Beyond the Song. Glory to Glory

Riley Harrison Clark. Beyond the Song. Glory to Glory

Jantina de Haan Baksteen reached out to Riley Harrison Clark to go Beyond the Song into his new release, “Glory to Glory,” from his “Welcome to Me” album. We all know Riley from Tribute Quartet where he sang the lead. Members include Gary Casto, Josh Singletary, and Anthony Davis. Filling in the tenor part is Gus Gaches.

Riley Harrison Clark. Beyond the Song. Glory to GloryYou started your solo career in 2018 and introduced “Glory to Glory” to radio from your first solo album. Who wrote this song and why is it on this project?

Joel Lindsey, Jeff Bumgardner, and I wrote, “Glory To Glory.” I have always been inspired by Larnell Harris and his music, so when it came time to record an album of my own, I know I wanted to write a song that would stylistically be something like what he would record.

What made you pick this song as your first song to radio?

“Glory To Glory” is the opening for every one of my solo concerts. It is the opening of the album, so we simply felt it fitting to make it the first single off the project.

What does the message of the song mean to you?

Along with wanting to record something that felt inspired by the styles of Larnell, I also wanted to take a moment on the project to simply glorify God for all He is and all He has done. I believe we were able to capture both of these things.

Riley Harrison Clark. Beyond the Song. Glory to Glory

Riley Harrison Clark with Tribute Quartet

What is the message you want to share with your audience?

To answer this question as simple as possible I would say the most important thing I want to share is that there is hope. For whatever you may be going through and whatever may come your way there is always hope. You are not alone and never will be.

Can you tell what lies ahead for your solo ministry in the near future?

As an artist I have goals. Goals for my music, my voice, my future. However, I am always careful to not put a goal on my ministry other than to be where God has for me at every moment. I never want to put a cap on, for lack of better terms, my ministry. I feel the moment I start trying to control the future of my ministry is the moment it will start to stray from the greater things God has ahead.

I know you traveled a lot to foreign countries with Tribute Quartet. Where did you go?

Yes. While with the guys (Tribute) we were fortunate to travel all across the world; Northern Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Mexico, and most recently Tanzania, Africa where we were able to be involved with an organization we all feel privileged to support, Kids4School.

Riley Harrison Clark of Tribute

Riley Harrison Clark

Is it on your wish list to travel out of the country as a solo artist?

I would love to continue to travel the world. It is my passion to share my music and God’s message to not only my country but others as well.

Is there something more you’d like to share?

Lastly, I want everyone to know that it is my heart’s desire to reach the lost and broken as well as to encourage others that are simply in need of being uplifted. I believe now is as good a time as any to pour all we have into showing the love, grace, mercy, and hope of Jesus out for all to see. I am honored to do this by sharing the ministry of Riley Harrison Clark with all those that will listen, whether it is down the street or all around the world.

Thanks so much for your time. As the SGNScoops team, we wish you God’s blessing for your ministry and family!

 

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Beyond the Song: The Old Paths sing “Lord Knows”

Written by Staff on April 15, 2019 – 6:32 am -

The Old Paths share authentic stories of Christ’s power on It’s Real

The Old Paths share authentic stories
of Christ’s power on new album,  “It’s Real.”

Jantina de Haan went Beyond the Song to ask The Old Paths about the song “Lord Knows.” It is an awesome tune that gets the listener’s fire burning.

“When we heard this song for the first time, we had the same feeling! Wow! What really drew us to pick this song for the album was the theme of God knowing what we are all going through along, with the fun tempo. That first line of, ‘I see you walking down that dead end road,’ brings conviction to those going down that path.

“People all around us are headed down a dead end road, thinking there is no hope. They think they are too far gone for God to intervene and work a miracle. Their ‘heartaches are like a ball and chain,’ is such a good line expressing the

March 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

March 2019 SGNScoops Magazine features the Old Paths

pains of this life. Many people have prayed and prayed for Heaven to move on their behalf and feel that God isn’t there. The song then reminds us about the power of what God can do and what kind of situations He can deliver us from. He delivered the Hebrew three from a fiery furnace, which was seemingly impossible. He knocked down the walls of Jericho. He is all-knowing and is anxiously waiting to help those who are facing the fiery furnace of life’s trials. This song is loaded with truth, but is also a ton of fun to sing! The track turned out great with the help of Crossroads and their great musicians.”

The Old Paths are: Tim Rackley, Daniel Ashborn, Douglas Roark, and Steve Ladd. Their new album is entitled, “It’s Real.” Find out more about the old Paths on their website HERE. The album will be available everywhere March 22 from Sonlite Records.

We don’t have a complete video of the song, but you can hear part of it here. The song is available for purchase at your favorite outlet.

 

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Meet the Writer: Michael Jason Frost discusses “Choose Life” by the Hyssongs

Written by Staff on April 10, 2019 – 2:16 pm -

Hyssongs

The Hyssongs

Have you had an experience where you had to convince someone to “Choose Life”? Have you personally faced this choice? The Hyssongs’ new song came from a very personal place for writer Michael Jason Frost.

Here are the lyrics, followed by a video interview with Richard Hyssong, as Michael gives his testimony behind the song…

Michael Jason Frost

Michael Jason Frost

Choose Life
(Michael Jason Frost / Morning Frost Music / BMI)

1)
There’s a woman crying softly, a heavy heart and worried mind
As she wonders how she’ll care for this precious unborn child
Somebody said to her you have a choice, in this day and time
But in spite of her uncertainties, the choice becomes clear in her mind

(Chorus)
She chooses life, full and abundant, a precious gift from Heaven above
Life, in spite of all of its trials, is God’s manifestation of marvelous love
When it seems there’s no other choice you can find,
Remember God created us to prosper and thrive,
The choice becomes clear every time,
Choose life

2)
There’s a man crying softly, a heavy heart and a worried mind
As he ponders a decision to give up, and end it all this time
Somebody said to him you have a choice, find the strength inside
In spite of all his uncertainties, the choice becomes clear in his mind

(Chorus)
He chooses life, full and abundant, a precious gift from Heaven above
Life, in spite of its trials, is God’s manifestation of marvelous love
When it seems there’s no other choice you can find,
Remember God created us to prosper and thrive,
The choice becomes clear every time,
Choose life

3)
There’s a world crying softly, with heavy hearts and worried minds
We’ve forgotten there’s abundant life, through Jesus Christ
We all have a choice before we leave this world behind
Jesus is life, so now is the time to decide

(Chorus)
Choose life, full and abundant, a precious gift from Heaven above
Life, in spite of all of its trials, is God’s manifestation of his marvelous love
When it seems there’s no other choice you can find,
Remember God created us to prosper and thrive,
The choice is clear this time,
Choose life

We hope you enjoy this song as sung by the Hyssongs.

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Beyond the Song: Greg Sullivan talks about his new album, “Have I Got Good News For You”

Written by Staff on April 3, 2019 – 9:10 am -

Greg Sullivan

Greg Sullivan

Jantina de Haan went Beyond the Song to ask gospel artist Greg Sullivan about the songs off of his album, “Have I Got Good News For You.”

Sullivan says he loves the song, “Just Because.”

“Because I take comfort in the fact that my loved ones are over there cheering me on and they are not really gone, just out of sight for a while,” says Sullivan. “One day I will join them ‘Just Beyond,'”

Sullivan confesses, “But my favorite on the album is ‘Another Child is Coming Home.’

“Seeing God deliver my daughter from a six-year drug addiction that almost took her life, makes the song very special to me. I got to feel what the Prodigal Father felt when his son came home when my daughter called last May and asked, “Daddy can I come home?’ One of the greatest days of my life. Now I am able to give people hope because what God did for my family!”

Greg and Lisa Sullivan

Greg and Lisa Sullivan

Greg Sullivan is a former member of Chronicle and the Harrells. He lives in Holden, Louisiana, with his wife Lisa. They have two children, Kaleigh and Brett. His greatest influence is Ricky Atkinson. For more information on Sullivan and to download his songs, click here.

Sullivan sings his latest release, “Three Nails, Three Days,” from his album, “Have I Got Good News For You.”

 

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Legacy Five: Unchanging message in changing times

Written by Staff on March 18, 2019 – 3:36 pm -

Legacy Five Announces Tenor Position Opening

Legacy Five

Scott Fowler leads Legacy Five into the future

By John Herndon

Rooted in one of the greatest traditions in gospel music, the Legacy Five has embarked on a 2019 schedule that will see the group pay tribute to history, yet do so by embracing the changes of the times.

I was fortunate to talk with Scott Fowler, one of the quartet’s founding members, after a concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church, in Lawrenceburg, Ky., on Jan. 24. It was a performance that drew a good crowd on a bitterly cold night and prompted several extended standing ovations.

Fowler was excited to talk about the group’s plans for the coming year. “We are getting ready to release our first video in about five or six years,” he said, noting that 21-year-old pianist Josh Townsend will be prominently featured. “A couple of things people have been asking for are J.T.’s testimony, which you heard tonight, and the song that he sings.”

Josh Townsend of Legacy Five

Josh Townsend of Legacy Five

Townsend, who has overcome two childhood tumors and a massive stroke while being carried in his mother’s womb, shared his testimony with a mesmerized audience before singing the tear-filled “God’s Been Good,” a bonus track from the “Faith and Freedom” album released in late 2017.

“People ask a lot if we’ve got the patriotic segment we did tonight on video,” Fowler continued. “That’s going to be on the video with ‘I Made it to Arlington’ along with the ‘Tribute to the Troops’ we do. Those are two big items that will be on the DVD. It will be called, ‘Live in Peoria.’

“It will come out around the first of March, maybe the 15th. Then we are working on a new studio album. We don’t have it titled yet, but it will have 10 brand new songs on it. That will be coming in the late spring or early summer.”

Scott Fowler of Legacy Five

Scott Fowler of Legacy Five

Fowler said the Legacy Five will be on a normal tour schedule of about 135 concerts, too.

The Sand Spring concert was heavy on songs from “Faith and Freedom,” including “God Bless the USA,” “Hallelujah Chorus,” and a rousing version of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” as the finale.

Fowler explained the reasoning behind the album. “I have always been very patriotic personally,” he said. “I have always had a deep sense of gratitude. I have been to El Salvador. I have been to the Dominican Republic. I have been to the nation of Colombia. They are great places with great people, but the kids there will never have the opportunities of kids in America because of where they were born. I realize that the only difference between my kids and those kids in other countries was where they were born. There is no other difference.

Legacy Five

Legacy Five

“They may speak a different language and their skin might be a different color but God doesn’t love them any less than he loves my kids. I am very grateful that my kids were allowed to be born in America.

“Then you have the political climate. The culture got there for a while there that people were apologizing for America and not standing for the Anthem, just not being respectful. I wanted people to know where Legacy Five stood on those issues, so that is what we did.”

The group took time to recognize veterans from all branches of the service. “Veterans deserve everything our government will give them and more,” Fowler said.

Fowler is one of the veterans of gospel music, singing with the Cathedrals for 10 years before legends George Younce and Glen Payne retired the group. Fowler and Cathedrals pianist Roger Bennett formed Legacy Five to begin touring in January of 2000. Bennett died in 2007, but the group continues as one of gospel music’s most popular.

Scott Howard of Legacy Five

Scott Howard of Legacy Five

Part of Legacy Five’s appeal has been its ability to adapt to a changing world. “The actual style has changed. It always gets a little more progressive,” Fowler said, noting the same thing happens in other styles of music.

“The biggest change is technologically. You know with all the social media, now your music is available online and on YouTube. You can stream it. Nobody knew what those terms were 20 years ago.”

When Fowler talked about CD’s and other merchandise available at the product table, he noted the group had a USB-drive loaded with several albums available.

Fowler smiled, “The message doesn’t change. The package changes, but the message never changes.”

It’s why Legacy Five remains near the top of gospel music.

All images by John Herndon, except for promotional photographs.

Josh Feemster of Legacy Five

Josh Feemster of Legacy Five

By John Herndon

John Herndon is a writer for SGNScoops Magazine and also has a website called KentuckySings. John is a Kentucky native who was raised listening to gospel music. As a child, the Sunday morning routine always included the Gospel Singing Jubilee and his summers were filled with all-day-singings-and-dinner-on-the-ground listening to local groups just about every Sunday. He remembers seeing The Prophets at his county fair when he was seven years old and eventually, he became a huge fan of The Oak Ridge Boys, The Imperials and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps. John spent 20 years in the located ministry and during this time, he began writing local sports for The Anderson News in Lawrenceburg, Ky. For the last 16 years, he has been the full-time sports editor of that paper. John has won over 100 awards from the Kentucky Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and Landmark Community Newspapers. He loves listening to gospel music or playing one of his guitars. John lives in Lawrenceburg with his wife, Stephanie, and 17-year-old daughter. He has three grown children and four grandchildren.

***Note: This article was written before the announcement that Josh Feemster is leaving this popular quartet. See elsewhere on this website for more information.

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Beyond the Song: the Williamsons talk about “Every Moment, Every Mountain, Every Mile”

Written by Staff on March 16, 2019 – 11:51 am -

Williamsons Featured on Gospel Greats!

Williamsons

Jantina de Haan went Beyond the Song to ask the Williamsons about their latest hit, “Every Moment, Every Mountain, Every Mile.”

“When we received the song, ‘Every Moment, Every Mountain, Every Mile,’ we had already pretty much settled on our song list for our latest project, ‘Give Them Jesus,'” said Donnie Williamson. “After listening to the demo given to us by one of the writers, Joel Lindsey, we decided to change the song list so we could add this great song. It spoke to us from the very first time we heard it. After recording it, we learned that it was speaking to other people as well. In fact, a pastor friend of ours in West Virginia said he was really struggling with several things in his life and had decided to resign his church. However, he heard this song on the radio one day and it spoke to his heart. It reminded him that God was still with him and would never leave him nor forsake him and the most important thing – It’s all worth it!

Williamson continued, “So many times when we’re on the road and things get difficult and trying, it’s great to be reminded that we will never regret what we do for him when offering our bodies as living sacrifices. No one who has lived their life for Jesus was ever sorry for it when it came their time to leave this world.”

About the Williamsons

The Williamson Family began singing together as a group in 1969 with Woody and Pinky Williamson and their children Donnie and Tennie. They held concerts and revival meetings in Oklahoma and the surrounding states. The group was reorganized in 1998 as The Homesteaders Quartet. This group officially changed their name to The Williamsons in 2008. Members of the Williamsons today include Donnie Williamson and his wife Lisa, their children Sadie and Olivia Williamson, Darin Hebert, Karl Rice, and Bo Chesser. For more information click here.

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Leslie McKay: Wake Up Call

Written by Staff on March 15, 2019 – 1:05 pm -

Leslie and Dennis McKay of McKay Project and M.A.C. Records

Leslie and Dennis McKay of McKay Project and M.A.C. Records

I imagine most of us are familiar with the term “wake up call.” If you are staying at a hotel, you may request a wake-up call at a certain time and a member of the staff will call your room to ensure that you wake up. Another definition of a wake-up call is something that happens to get your attention or to prompt you to change course, realize or recognize that you need to do things differently, or take stock of your life, etc.

Recently, we were staying at a hotel in Birmingham, Ala. After a long, but fun day of shopping we settled in for the night. The next morning was going to be an early one because we were heading back to Mississippi to be in church. We needed a good night’s rest. However, around 1:30 a.m. we were horrifically jarred from our sleep by the fire alarm going off in our room and the repetition of a woman’s voice telling us that a fire had been detected in the building and we needed to evacuate immediately.

We jumped up and after taking a few minutes to gain our senses, we threw on some clothes, grabbed blankets and headed out the door and down four flights of stairs. I would venture to say that very few people use the stairs in a high rise hotel or even pay attention to where the stairs come out of the hotel. When we emerged, we were in a basement parking garage and near what looked like a loading dock. We could hear the sound of fire trucks approaching. The hotel alarm was still blaring and the woman’s voice was repeating the message over and over to evacuate. We made it to the street level and saw other people like us that had dressed quickly, hair in a “hot mess”, and walking toward the front of the hotel. We followed.

You can imagine what was going through our minds…is it real or is it a prank? If it is real, what did we leave behind? If it is a prank, then I hope they catch who did this because it is not funny.

As we approached the front of the hotel, there was a group of people dressed in formal wear sitting leisurely in the front lobby. We noticed them earlier in the day. They were there to celebrate a wedding. Obviously, from their calm appearance, it was apparent that this was a false alarm and there wasn’t a fire in the building. Wow!

We entered the lobby of the hotel expecting someone to take charge and provide directions, but that didn’t happen. We expected to see firemen enter the building, but that didn’t happen either. After a few minutes, the alarm stopped and people were just standing around looking at each other wondering what to do next. When nothing happened, we went to the front desk where the clerk seemed to be doing business as usual (giving directions to the pizza delivery guy that had just arrived) and asked about returning to our rooms. “Oh yeah, there is no fire… you may go back to your rooms,” was his response. You can imagine that tempers were high. As sleepy people grumbled about the interruption, we entered the elevators and went back to our rooms to attempt to get a few hours of sleep before starting the day.

You may be wondering, “Where is she going with all of this?” or “What does this have to do with anything?”  As I returned to bed and began to try and calm my mind to go to sleep. I felt like the Spirit downloaded some info on the inside of me about that whole experience.

Everyone at some point in their life will experience a wake-up call of some kind.

You fill in the blank:
My “wake up call” happened when _________.

It can take a variety of forms. In 2018, my husband was in a restaurant when a car came through the glass wall and hit him (miraculously, he is okay). That is an example of an extreme “wake up call”. The wake-up call could be unwanted medical news, money trouble, job loss or change, a relationship going south, or any number of things. Sometimes a wake-up call is out of our control while other times we bring circumstances upon ourselves. I want to share some thoughts that I had after our recent hotel experience which I think relate to real life when it comes to a wake up call.

McKay Project

Leslie

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE WAKE-UP CALL HAPPENS?

1. Go With It – Move.  We realize what is happening, we take inventory, make the necessary adjustments and we keep moving. That night in the hotel room, we assessed what was happening, got up, got dressed and got out of the building.

In Acts 9 in the Bible, Saul was faced with a wake-up call when he was blinded on the road to Damascus and heard the voice of Jesus. Previously, Saul was a major persecutor of Christians and was on his way to Damascus to kill more Christians when he encountered Jesus. At that moment, Saul was confronted with who he was and who Jesus was. He immediately became willing to do what Jesus instructed him to do. Saul continued on the road to Damascus but the purpose for his trip was dramatically altered and his life was forever changed. Saul became Paul (Acts 13). His wake-up call produced an adjustment in his life that took immediate affect and he kept moving on for Jesus instead of against Him.

2. Stay in Chaos and Confusion. The wake-up call happens and we stay in a state of chaos and confusion; constantly scrambling and trying to keep our head above water.

My daughter and I laugh at my husband. He is a very deep sleeper and when he was jarred awake by the fire alarm he had no idea what was going on. For a few minutes, he was standing up, sitting down, standing up, sitting down, and scrambling just to get awake enough to process what was happening in the hotel room.

In the Bible, Jonah is an example where his wake-up call found him in a state of chaos and confusion that he brought on himself (and others). God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to the people. Jonah didn’t want to go so he ran the opposite direction. He made his own plan and boarded a boat heading for Tarshish.

Jonah’s actions affected more than just himself.  While out to sea, a monstrous storm came up and the crew was terribly afraid because they thought they were going to die. They called out to their gods and even threw their cargo overboard to lighten the ship. In spite of all that chaos, Jonah went below deck and fell asleep. Either that was some serious denial or he really didn’t yet understand the gravity of his situation. Eventually, the members of the crew decided to cast lots to see who was responsible for the awful storm and it fell on Jonah. They woke him up (another wake-up call) and asked him how in the world he could sleep and who he was and what he had done. He told them he was a Hebrew who followed the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and dry land. Jonah told them he was running from God.  The storm got worse and they asked Jonah what to do. He told them to throw him overboard because it was his fault. The crew didn’t want to throw him over and tried to row in spite of the storm but it grew wilder. Reluctantly, they threw Jonah over and the sea became calm.  As if that wasn’t enough, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish. In the belly of that fish, Jonah answered his wake-up call and repented and agreed to do what God asked. He went to Nineveh and preached to the people.

Sometimes we bring the circumstances for our wake-up call upon ourselves by the choices we make and many times those choices affect other people. In the story of Jonah, the crew was affected by his choices. They probably sacrificed valuable items when they threw their cargo overboard in an effort to fix the situation. Even after the crew knew they needed to throw Jonah overboard, they put it off and tried in their own power to row back to land.

Isn’t that sometimes how it is? Our world may be in chaos and everyone around us can see what is going on and they are trying to help us, but we have yet to wake up. It wasn’t until Jonah was alone in the belly of the great fish that he surrendered and decided to obey God. The fish spit him out and this time when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, he went.

The point is not to stay in a state of chaos and confusion but recognize that God only wants the best for us and surrender to Him.

I Corinthians 14:33 tells us that “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…”

Philippians 4:7 reminds us that “the peace of God, which surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

3. Do Nothing.  Perhaps the wake-up call produces a fear in us that we can’t overcome and we just stop living. We are paralyzed and too afraid to do anything. We gather our resources around us and hunker down like we are waiting out a storm that never ends. Maybe we even convince ourselves it isn’t real and if we ignore it then maybe it will go away. Remember, the wake-up call should act as a catalyst in many cases to get us to move forward or do something different.

That night in the hotel lobby, no one was gripped by fear and it was obvious that most thought it wasn’t real. We figured that if we just ignored the fire alarm and warnings they would eventually stop. Even the hotel staff continued to conduct business as usual.

In Numbers 13 and 14 in the Bible, the Israelites had left Egypt and escaped from Pharaoh and reached the border of Canaan. God told Moses to send 12 spies into the land of Canaan to scout out the land. It was the land that God promised to give to the Israelites. However, when the spies returned they were so afraid of the giants living in the land that they convinced the people not to move forward. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones of the twelve that believed God’s promise that they could take the land. God was not happy with the people of Israel because of their lack of faith and their complaining. He declared that none of the people over 20 years old would enter the land that he promised with the exception of Joshua and Caleb and their descendants. They wandered another 40 years in the wilderness. Their fear and decision to do nothing resulted in the delay of receiving or moving into the land that God had promised them.

When the wake-up call happens in our lives, it can be scary but we can’t let fear grip us and rule our lives. Fear is a liar and God is not about fear.

II Timothy 1:7 reminds us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind.”

Psalms 27:1 tells us, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom should I be afraid?”

Leslie McKay

Leslie McKay

I believe wake-up calls are part of life. Some are more intense than others, but we have a choice as to how we respond. I believe God has a purpose and a plan for each of us and wants the best for us. When those wake-up calls happen in life, I want to challenge you to ask yourself, “What can I learn?” Then…get up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. Your best days are ahead of you!

By Leslie McKay

Leslie McKay is a writer for SGNScoops Magazine and is also a member of McKay Project with her husband, Dennis. Together they are McKay Project and own M.A.C. Records. Find out more about Leslie McKay here.

 

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