Gospel Music Historian Dean Adkins talks to the Gospel Harmony Boys

imageIt’s All About the Bass

imageIt is not that unusual to find a teenager in a Southern Gospel group but in most cases it is a family group. A teenager in a male quartet is more of a rarity and a teenage bass singer is probably the rarest addition to a group. So it is a unique combination to find a teenage bass singer in one of the oldest SGM groups, but such is the case with the current group comprising the Gospel Harmony Boys.

In 1952 the Gospel Harmony Boys were founded in Huntington, WV by SGMA Hall of Fame member, Harold Lane. Since that time they have been recognized as one of the most musically sound groups in the genre. In their 63 years of ministry, they have only had five bass singers up to this point. I would like to introduce their sixth bass singer, Brandon Stone, a 17 year old high school senior.

1. Can you please provide some background information: family, education, church affiliation?

imageI am 17 years old and am a senior at Winfield High School. I was raised by a single Mom, and we live in Nitro, WV. We are a small family but very close. Along with Mom, my Nana (Marie Lamont), Pawpaw (Bill Lamont) and Uncle David (David Lamont) are my biggest support system and are always in the audience no matter what I am doing. I am a member of Teays Valley Baptist Church under the direction of my senior pastor, Dr. John D. Smith.
2. What was your early introduction to Southern Gospel music?

My maternal great-grandparents loved Gospel music. They had tons of the Gaither homecoming videos, always went to local Gospel sings and attended the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion for as many years as I can remember.

3. What is your musical background and influences?

Since I was a toddler, I have always loved music. I always told my mom I wanted to be a choir director when I grew up. I started playing the trumpet when I was 11 years old for Andrew Jackson Middle School. I continued through the years and still play the trumpet today in the Winfield High School marching band, concert band, show choir band and pep band. I started singing in our church’s youth choir when I was in middle school and sang my first solo in ninth grade at church. I also joined the adult choir at church when I entered high school.

4. When did you realize that singing was something you wanted to do?

I had never really put much thought into singing with a group like the Gospel Harmony Boys. I had no idea that I was qualified enough to sing for a Southern Gospel quartet. I was content on just singing at church. Now that the door has been opened for me to sing with the GHB, I realized that this was something I love and I hope to minister to people with gospel music for a long time.

5. How did you hear about the GHB opening? How was your audition?

I heard there was opening from Ron Peters, a man that attends my church. Ron works with Clacy Williams, and I guess one day he showed Clacy a YouTube video of me singing. The next thing I knew, I was getting a call from Clacy himself. The audition wasn’t that bad, other than the fact that I was extremely nervous. The guys were kind, helpful, and encouraging. I guess it went well since I am still here.

6. How do you balance school, GHB activities and church?
The good thing about GHB is that most of our endeavors are on the weekends, so it doesn’t affect my school time. While I sometimes have to miss service at my own church to be at an event or practice, I think of it as me working with my own ministry. Balancing it all hasn’t really been that challenging so far.

7. Favorites – school subject, movie, book, any hobbies?

My favorite things to do are probably what you would predict… but I honestly love to hear a good preacher in church, sing, play my trumpet, spend time with my friends and family and listen to gospel music.
image8. What are your plans after high school?
After high school, I plan to attend Andersonville Theological Seminary. God called me to preach in July, 2013 so I will further my education to go into the ministry. I plan to serve at my church and sing with the Gospel Harmony Boys while taking classes.

9. How are the GHB guys treating you?
The Gospel Harmony Boys are the classiest, most respectable, fun, helpful, and friendly group of people I have ever been around. I was worried about being the new young guy, but from the first day, all three of the men have taken me under their wings and made this experience awesome. I have only sung in a few concerts so far, but I am having the time of my life and am honored to be singing with role models that put Christ first in their lives. They are a great example to a young guy like me just getting started. I could not be any happier, and I look forward to the future.

Clacy Williams, tenor and manager of the group had this to say about Brandon: “Brandon is an extremely talented young man who has the potential of becoming one of SGMs finest bass singers. He has a great attitude and it’s amazing how much quicker he learns, compared to the old codgers he’s adopted as comrades. Singing with Brandon is just good fun as well as watching him improve every program and every rehearsal.”
Clacy also adds, “We felt it was time to pay back and help a great young talent develop.”
by Dean Adkins

For more information on the Gospel Harmony Boys click here.

First published by SGNScoops in March 2015.

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