Southern Gospel Weekend


Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Happy Birthday Mr. Ed O’Neal

Written by scoopsnews on May 28, 2018 – 10:44 am -

For over 55 years, Ed O’ Neal has served as owner, manager, and bass singer for the legendary Dixie Melody Boys. Throughout his tenure, he has received every possible award for excellence from his peers and fans, including multiple Favorite Bass Singer honors, the J.D. Sumner Living Legend Award, and the prestigious Marvin Norcross Award. Perhaps his greatest achievement was induction into the Southern Gospel Music Association’s Hall Of Fame long before his storied career was over. And it’s not over by a long shot, as the effervescent octogenarian is still thrilling audiences worldwide. In addition to being one of Southern Gospel’s most beloved personalities, Ed O’ Neal is credited with introducing some of the greatest talent to ever grace a concert stage. Thanks to Ed’s ability to locate and groom such fine performers, the Dixie Melody Boys have been affectionately dubbed “Ed O’ Neal University.”  Some 80+ individuals have graduated from EOU and are currently serving in various capacities throughout churches and concert halls across the country. Ed O’ Neal’s smooth vocal stylings and southern charm have gained him countless fans the world over, but his humility, grace, and generosity have earned him a place in innumerable friend’s hearts. 

Today is Ed’s Birthday… Happy Borthday from your friends at SGN Scoops!

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Written by Staff on November 10, 2017 – 3:49 pm -



Nashville, TN – Popular Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame member, Ed O’Neal, manager of The Dixie Melody Boys (pictured in attached jpg), has announced that a scheduling agreement has been reached with the Beckie Simmons Agency. BSA will immediately begin scheduling The Dixie Melody Boys for events throughout the remainder of 2017, as well as 2018. “We look forward to this new working relationship with Beckie and her staff,” O’Neal states. “Beckie’s reputation speaks for itself, as does her work ethic. I consider it a great honor to have the opportunity to work together. We are very excited.”

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CHM Event Center serves Vestal Goodman’s famous coconut cake at VIP reception following concert with the Dixie Melody Boys, the Guardians & Lorne Matthews

Written by Staff on August 21, 2016 – 12:38 pm -

Vestal Goodman's Coconut Cake

Vestal Goodman’s Coconut Cake

Promoter James Lawson says, “I just thought it would be fun to duplicate Vestal’s family recipe and serve something that would not only be good but that would bring back fond memories of one of gospel music’s great legends…something that you just would’nt get anywhere else.”

Vestal Goodman

Vestal Goodman

Barberton, Ohio August 19, 2016- The Happy Goodman’s could sing an old convention song like no other group, each of them singing a different melody line and then all of them landing on the final chord together.

They were also known for their voracious appetite for life, gospel music, and country cookin.’ There was always something good to eat on the Goodman’s bus. Now if you are not aware of it, Vestal’s coconut cake was legendary.

We gave Vestal’s most requested and celebrated cake recipe to

Dixie Melody Boys

Dixie Melody Boys

Dolores Reeve’s of Reeves Cake Shop, celebrating forty years serving some of the finest baked goods in Akron, and commissioned them to bake as close to possible Vestal’s famous coconut cake. Following the “Summer Night Hometown Sing,” this past August at the CHM

How big is God. Guardians with Pat Barker


Lorne Matthews

Lorne Matthews

Event Center, Barberton, Ohio those with a VIP ticket indulged in a piece of Vestal’s famous cake, garnished with a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream and had a chance to mingle up close with all of the artists on the program. In concert that evening were the Dixie Melody Boys, the Guardians and Lorne Matthews.

When it comes to Southern Gospel Music, you will find none finer than the coming roster of talent scheduled to appear at Christian Healthcare’s new Event Center located at 800 Wooster Rd, Barberton, Ohio.

The fall line up is simply spectactular, starting with:

September 10-Greater Vision & the Mylon Hayes Family
October 22-Cana’s Voice & David Pendleton
November 19-the Blackwood Brothers & the Browns
December 16-the Hoppers & the Hall Sisters

Plan now attend one or more of the above events; for more info visit our web at Tickets for all events on sale now through or by calling 800-965-9324; group rates available.

Christian Healthcare Ministries/Gospel Music Live
Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is an affordable, faith-based solution for Christians to the problems of rising healthcare costs and expensive health insurance policies. Visit or

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Triumphant Quartet personnel changes

Written by Staff on August 16, 2016 – 7:11 pm -

Triumphant Quartet by Craig Harris

Triumphant Quartet With GW Southard

Triumphant Quartet has announced the departure of GW Southard, their pianist of two years. GW responded this evening on Facebook: “I like to thank everyone for the countless messages. I would also like to thank Triumphant Quartet for giving me the opportunity to pursue a passion of mine and Eric Bennett for being a great Boss and leader! Thank everyone for the memories!!”

Dixie Melody Boys with Aaron Dishman (2nd from left)

Dixie Melody Boys with Aaron Dishman (2nd from left)

The group’s new pianist is Aaron Dishman, formerly of the Dixie Melody Boys. According to the Singing News website, Triumphant is thrilled to welcome Aaron to their quartet. “‘We’ve know Aaron for many years and always loved his kind heart and sweet spirit. But, he is also a very talented musician and singer. Former pianist GW Southard left the group in late June to serve on a church staff. We are very thankful for the two years GW was here and we wish him the best. We are extremely excited for the addition of Aaron on our team,’ says Eric Bennett.”

About Triumphant Quartet

According to the Quartet’s website: “Triumphant Quartet has had four #1 songs and several others have climbed the Top 40 music charts, which has also contributed to their popularity. Gospel music fans agree that the triumphant sound is distinctive, solid quartet singing. But Triumphant excels in diversity, and also expands their musical borders to a wide variety of styles, that is enjoyed by church audiences and music lovers. When Triumphant takes the stage, the audience is entertained by the musical variety, the engaging personalities and a bond that is brought together by years of friendship. Audiences will find themselves smiling, laughing, crying, encouraged and uplifted. And most of all, they will walk away having had the Gospel Message presented to them in a powerful way, with a hope that many will receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is the focus of Triumphant. He is the reason they sing, and these four gentlemen stay consistent and steadfast in their goal of giving their very best in all they do and every song sung.” See more on Triumphant’s website.

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Aaron Dishman Exits Dixie Melody Boys

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on August 10, 2016 – 10:39 pm -

Aaron Dishman Exits Dixie Melody Boys

Aaron Dishman Exits Dixie Melody Boys

It is with bittersweet emotion that the Dixie Melody Boys announce the departure of Aaron Dishman. Dishman served as baritone and pianist for the legendary quartet for the last four years. Ed O’ Neal states, “Change is hard, but it’s obviously nothing new for me. Aaron is one of the finest young men to ever come through the Dixie Melody Boys and I couldn’t be prouder of the progress he’s made over the last few years. I hate to see him go, but am excited about his future and I wish him nothing but the best. Just another graduate of EOU!”

Auditions for the baritone position will begin August 15. Further applicants may contact the Dixie Melody Boys at 850-529-0790,, or by messaging the Dixie Melody Boys Facebook page.

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Prayers For Ed O’Neal And The Dixie Melody Boys

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on July 10, 2016 – 6:01 pm -

Prayers For Ed O'Neal And The Dixie Melody Boys

Prayers For Ed O’Neal And The Dixie Melody Boys

“We are heartbroken to report that Mama Joy has gone on to her heavenly reward. Please pray for Ed, Allen, Dara, Randy and the entire family at this difficult time. She will be missed.”

All of us at SGNScoops wish to express our deepest sympathies to Ed O’Neal and all the family and friends of Mama Joy and the Dixie Melody Boys.

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Mama Joy passes away

Written by Staff on July 10, 2016 – 11:39 am -

Mama Joy

Mama Joy

Earlier today, the Dixie Melody Boys posted this sad news:

“We are heartbroken to report that Mama Joy has gone on to her heavenly reward. Please pray for Ed, Allen, Dara, Randy and the entire family at this difficult time. She will be missed.”



All of us at SGNScoops wish to express our deepest sympathies to Ed O’Neal and all the family and friends of Mama Joy and the Dixie Melody Boys.

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Concert Alert!

Written by scoopsnews on May 18, 2016 – 11:44 am -


Concert Alert….

Saturday night May 28th 2016 in Villa Rica GA at the Fullerville Baptist Church. the Together Again Tour, featuring the New Dove Brothers and Ed Oneal and the Dixie Melody Boys! Doors open at 5pm concert starts at 6pm. $7.00 donation at the door and love offering will be taken. Come see and hear some of your favorite gospel songs and see Ed Oneal and McCray Dove together again on stage to sing some of there biggest hits! Share this information with all of your Facebook friends and help us pack the house. Don’t miss this event!


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Update On Ed O’Neal

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on February 20, 2016 – 10:22 pm -

Update On Ed O'Neal

Update On Ed O’Neal

Update On Ed O’Neal: The Dixie Melody Boys were in Nashville on Friday doing a photo shoot. At the end of the session, it was clear that Ed was not feeling well. He had worried through the week that he felt a cold coming on, but nothing major. We took him to a nearby Urgent Care where his condition worsened. He was then taken to the hospital where they identified an infection, but could not trace the source. He was immediately put on antibiotics and measures were taken to control his blood pressure and lower the fever. He would doze off and on and every time he awoke, he asked about Mama Joy. Even in the midst of his own suffering, she was still his number one concern. We made sure she was well taken care of and assured Ed of such. Meanwhile, Ed’s son Allen and daughter and son-in-law, Dara and Bill, drove through the night from Kinston. Around midnight, Ed’s vitals were back to normal. He was exhausted, but feeling better. Just to be safe, he was admitted for overnight observation. He received the all clear this morning and the kids took him and Mama Joy back home. He gave us a good scare, but is doing much better. We ask that you continue to keep Ed and Mama Joy in your prayers while they rest at home and remember the Dixie Melody Boys as we soldier on in his absence. Also, we must send a huge thank you to Danny Jones, Rick Francis, and Bob Crawford for your support through the night and this morning. We cannot express enough how appreciative we are to these gentlemen. Keep in mind, it’s going to take a lot more than a little infection to keep the “old man” down. After all, all he ever wanted to do was sing a song.

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Lesters Hit A HOME RUN!

Written by Staff on April 2, 2015 – 12:29 pm -

Lesters threeBy Craig Harris

Veteran tenor singer Matt Felts joins his hometown brethren

When the Lesters were in search of a tenor singer last fall, the long-time family group couldn’t have envisioned all of the pieces to the puzzle fitting together as seamlessly as they did. Into the picture stepped Matt Felts.

Matt Felts

Matt Felts

“It truly is like coming home,” Felts says. “I joke because we’re all from St. Louis. We all get each other’s humor. We all get each other’s food connections. We are watching Cardinals (baseball) games non-stop on the bus.

“You can watch people how they treat people on and off the bus. The way they treated me and my family coming in has been unbelievable. The ministry is why they do it … period. I’ve traveled with lots of great guys, lots of great singers. These are without a doubt the best. Every week feels like a family vacation. I’ve never had more fun.”

Felts spent the previous five years with the Dixie Melody Boys. “When they were looking for a tenor (when the Lesters became a male trio), I heard they were looking, and I instantly called my wife (Jennifer),” Felts remembers. “I said, ‘The Lesters are looking, and I want to take this job.’ It wasn’t the right season (at that time), so I said, ‘We’ll just wait.’

“Justin (Wells, the group’s previous tenor singer) actually texted me and said he was resigning. We were in the car, and I looked at my wife and said, ‘That’s it.’ I felt the season (with the Dixie Melody Boys) was coming to an end. I texted Brian (Lester) right then and said, ‘I’m interested in the job.’ He asked me to come up the next week.”

Lesters oneFelts – a St. Louis native – was born less than a mile from the Lesters’ residence. “We were amazed to watch God’s plan unfold as we began to search for a new tenor,” group manager and lead singer Brian Lester – who stands alongside his son Jonathan as the other vocalists in the trio – shares. “Matt and our former tenor, Justin Wells, have been close friends for years, so they already had a connection, which is how Matt first learned we were looking. Matt is not only from St. Louis but lived just a couple miles away from our home. It was truly a perfect fit. He has fit in so well very quickly.”

Felts adds, “The Lesters were in our house. We knew who they were. They were a household name for us. The earliest group I knew was the Lesters.”

Felts’ first experience in Southern Gospel Music came as a member of the Ohio-based GloryWay Quartet. That was followed by one year with the Skyline Boys, three years with the Monument Quartet and a six-month stint as part of Perfect Heart. Then, he joined the Dixie Melody Boys. Felts admits that those past experiences have helped shape him as an artist.

Matt Felts

Matt Felts

“I’ve tried to glean vocally – but not just vocally, also life – I’ve tried to look at how they did it in this industry for a lifetime,” Felts shares. “It’s been positive for the most part. Ernie Haase has been a like a brother, and there’s Allison Speer and Mike Allen.

“Ed O’Neal gave me free reign. He said, ‘You have ideas … go.’ Not everything works, but you learn.” That creative freedom was essential for Felts, who has a background in marketing. “They (the Lesters) knew my background,” Felts says. “I had a great support staff around me, and what we were able to accomplish with Ed was great.

“They (the Lesters) basically said, ‘What are your ideas? What can we do?’ That’s something (positive) for a guy who is in marketing. We’ll just be talking and new ideas will come. There is a momentum swing right now for new opportunities and new growth.”

One of those new opportunities involved the Lesters filming a live CD and DVD in Boston, a project that is now available. “It’s exciting to bring Southern Gospel to Boston,” Felts points out. “They eat it up every time.”

Felts’ marketing foundation was molded while he was a student at the University of Missouri. Felts also played baseball for the Tigers, graduating in 2001. Felts – a first baseman and relief pitcher – had the opportunity to play professional baseball, spending time in the minor leagues as part of the Kane County (Ill.) Cougars, Springfield/Ozark (Mo.) Mountain Ducks and Canton (Ohio) Coyotes. Felts is related to former New York Yankee great Don Mattingly – who is now the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers – and his wife’s family is related to Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member Honus Wagner. “We are a baseball family,” Felts says.

However, that coveted opportunity on the diamond proved to be a trying period of time for Felts. “I grew up a pastor’s son,” Felts explains. “That lifestyle in baseball is very different. I felt that was what I wanted to do, but I knew that wasn’t for me. Music was always at the front. I always wanted to be in music. The Lord was in music.”

Included among Felts’ favorite Lesters songs are “He Is,” “It’s Gonna Be Wonderful,” “My Savior First of All” and “He Didn’t Throw the Clay Away.”

“Clay was my testimony,” Felts points out. “Coming out of baseball, I felt like I had thrown my life away. I felt like I had made too many mistakes. That song just ministered to me.”

While Felts changed careers at that time, he most recently transitioned from a career with male quartets to becoming a third of a male trio now. “It’s stretching your wings artistically,” Felts says. “I love quartets. It’s nothing against that, but that’s all I’ve ever done. In some ways, you become stagnant. The arrangements they (the Lesters) do, it awakens something in you. It’s exciting.”

Lesters twoThe 37-year-old Felts admits that the support he has received has been overwhelming. “We are thrilled to have Matt and his family join the Lester family,” Brian Lester shares. “He has already been such as great addition, and our fans have embraced him.”

Felts adds, “It breathes new life into your career. The entire industry, the day I announced I was going over to the Lesters, I had people all over the industry congratulating me. A lot of quartet fans couldn’t understand how excited I was, but I knew there would be a lot of variety to the program. That’s exciting.”


Be sure to see The Lesters when they are in your area. For more information visit the Lesters website. 

Written by Craig Harris.

First published by SGN Scoops magazine in February 2015. For the current issue of SGN Scoops go to the homepage. 

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